Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — October 29, 2009 @ 3:31 pm
Hey, we’ve got a new category this week and it’s Sell Now. And it’s reserved for a special guy – Larry Johnson of the Chiefs – because special guys like him deserve special categories. Maybe the category should be called Some People Never Learn. Or perhaps Is This Guy Living In The 20th Century? I could go on…
Great opportunities this week and with league trade deadlines now getting closer, it’s time to jump in. As they say in real estate, it’s better to set the market than to chase it, especially in dynasty leagues. Giddy up.
- Steven Jackson, Rams – Jackson has the Lions this week who may be without Calvin Johnson. If the Rams are going to win a game this year, this may be it. Jackson knows it and he’s going to run determined. Expect him to run all over a soft Lions defense. Disclaimer: Rams are my team so there may be some bias here. Anyway, if you like Jackson and the fact he is 4th in the league in total yards per game and can’t possibly keep avoiding the end zone, buy now before he obliterates the Lions.
- Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Cardinals – Boldin has a high ankle sprain so he is defiinitely a buy low candidate given the concerns about his availability. However, all Cardinals weapons in the passing game are solid options the rest of the way due to their ridiculously easy schedule. After this week’s game against the league’s top ranked pass defense (Carolina), the Cardinals don’t face a pass defense ranked in the top half of the league. Their schedule during the fantasy playoffs include the 49ers, Lions and Rams. This one’s a no-brainer.
- Carson Palmer, Bengals – Palmer looked rusty for much of this season until the Bengals blowout win this week over the Bears when he went 20 of 24 for 233 yards and 5 TD. Not a bad days work. If you subscribe to the theory that Palmer’s poor performance over much of his team’s first 6 games was due to rust from missing most of last season and that he’s now back to his Pro Bowl form, then it’s time to buy in. As an added incentive, after this week’s bye the Bengals face 4 pass defenses ranked 21st or lower and don’t have a single game against a top 10 pass defense.
- Greg Jennings, Packers – Another game, another ho-hum TD-less performance from Jennings, this time against the sad-sack Browns. At this point, he’s on pace to finish the season with 950 receiving yards and just 2 TD. The Packers don’t face a top 10 pass defense the rest of the way so look for the Jennings magic to return soon. Like SJax, if his owner is fixated on the lack of touchdowns, then it’s time to jump into the fray with a below market offer.
- Thomas Jones, Jets – Jones has put up remarkable fantasy points this season courtesy of 7 touchdowns in 7 games. With Leon Washington out for the season and rookie Shonn Greene not able to replace Washington’s pass receiving ability, Jones figures to get increased touches the rest of the way. Heck, even his schedule is favorable so why sell high? Basically, if somebody is willing to sell the farm for Jones under the assumption that things will only get better for him given his situation, then you should be selling. I just don’t see him finishing the season with 1,400-plus yards and averaging a touchdown a game.
- Tony Romo, Cowboys – After 7 games, Romo has had 3 solid fantasy outings and 3 poor ones. The solid outings were against soft pass defenses – Bucs, Chiefs and Falcons. The duds were against solid pass defenses – Giants, Panthers and Broncos. Between now and the end of the fantasy playoffs, Romo faces 5 top ten pass defenses and of the other 5 games, the lowest ranked pass defense is the 16th ranked Seahawks. Basically, if the Romo formula of bad games against good pass defenses continues, Romo’s going to be putting up some duds the rest of the way. So, are you on the side of history or not?
- Kyle Orton, Broncos – Orton has been surprisingly effective as a fantasy starter this season but the road ahead isn’t a pretty one. The Broncos face 4 top 10 defenses over the next 9 weeks and the only patsy on the schedule is the Chiefs in week 13 unless you consider the Ravens game this week an easy one. If Orton is your starter, it’s time to package him and a backup WR or RB for a more servicable starter at quarterback.
- Larry Johnson, Chiefs – He’s been suspended for 2 weeks and it’s highly doubtful that he will play another game for the Chiefs. Basically, this is a case of taking 10 cents on the dollar and being happy about it. If a team desperate for running back help is offering up a WR4 or even less, then take it and be glad you did.
By: Dave Stringer — October 26, 2009 @ 4:43 pm
- Carson Palmer, Bengals – I was ready to write Palmer off for 2009 after he averaged 229 yards passing over the first 6 weeks of the season with 8 TD against 7 interceptions. However, he was on target this week against the Bears, going 20 of 24 for 233 yards and 5 TD. It looks like he’s back.
- Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, Jets – It’s not so much that Jones and Greene each had a monster game against the pathetic Raiders this week with each going over 100 yards (Jones – 121, Greene – 144) and Greene scoring 2 TD to 1 for Jones. The big news is that Leon Washington suffered a broken leg and is likely out for the year. Look for Jones to get increased touches and for Greene to be used slightly less than Washington was. However, with the Jets committed to the run, Greene figures to be a decent flex option in games against suspect run defenses.
- Miles Austin, Cowboys – Just another game with well over 100 yards receiving and multiple TD. Austin turned 8 targets into 6 receptions for 171 yards and 2 TD this week, bringing his 2 game totals to 16 receptions for 421 yards and 4 TD. Reports out of training camp were that Austin was getting separation from coverage but having difficulty catching the ball. Looks like he’s found his confidence and arrived as the Cowboys top wide receiver.
- Cedric Benson, Bengals – Benson got his revenge on the Bears and their defense, whom he accused of cheapshotting him at practice during his time in Chicago, with 189 yards and a TD on 37 carries. After 7 weeks, Benson is the NFL’s leading rusher with 720 yards on the ground and is on pace to finish with an astounding 1,645 rushing yards.
- Vincent Jackson, Chargers – It’s time to crown Jackson as a top 10 fantasy wideout, if not top 5. In 6 games, he’s hit double digit fantasy points five times and is on pace to finish with over 210 fantasy points. Basically, it’s solid production on a consistent basis. What’s not to like?
- Ricky Williams, Dolphins – Coming off his 92 total yards, 3 TD performance this week against the Saints, Williams is now the 10th ranked fantasy running back. Between now and Week 16, the Dolphins face seven defenses ranked 20th or lower against the run as well as the Jaguars (12th) and Titans (10th) which means you can plug Williams in as a solid flex option or even as a low end RB2.
- Owen Daniels, Texans – Owning Daniels in 2007 and 2008 was extremely frustrating for his fantasy owners as he churned out 1,630 receiving yards but a measly 5 TD. That’s all changed in 2009 as Daniels is in pace to finish with over 1,100 receiving yards and 11 TD, which would likely result in him being the top ranked tight end. With the Texans passing offense clicking and the running game struggling, Daniels production should stay steady for the remainder of the season.
- Vernon Davis, 49ers – I’ve been down on Davis for years but this is the week that turned the tide. With Alex Smith on in relief, Davis had 7 receptions for 93 yards and 3 TD in the 2nd half, all from Smith. Over the last 4 games, Davis has been targeted 37 times, resulting in 22 catches for 283 yards and an amazing 6 TD. Oh yeah, he’s also the top ranked fantasy tight end on a points per game basis.
- Tony Romo, Cowboys – The Romo equation this year has been solid against bad D’s and average or worse against good ones. However, he put up a solid game this week against the Falcons with 311 yards passing, 3 TD and no picks. There are a number of solid pass defenses on the schedule for the Cowboys (Eagles – 5th, Giants – 1st as well as the Redskins’ 3rd ranked pass defense twice) but the emergence of Austin could change the Romo equation in those contests.
- Michael Crabtree, 49ers – Nothing too exciting in Crabtree’s first game, with 5 receptions for 56 yards. However, he was only targeted 6 times, 3 of his receptions resulted in first downs and he played extensively, coming out for only a few plays. Basically, Crabtree was impressive in his debut, his conditioning is good and there’s little reason to doubt that the 49ers will be increasing his role in the coming weeks.
- Mike Bell, Saints – After Pierre Thomas struggled in the 1st half this week against the Dolphins, Bell got the call in the 2nd half and put up 80 yards on 12 carries. He seemed to run with much more authority than Thomas, regularly taking on linebackers and bouncing off them for extra yardage. With neither player contributing much in the passing game, the Saints coaching staff will likely continue to go with the hot hand running the ball and this game showed that Thomas will get the hook if he struggles.
- Alex Smith, 49ers – Playing exactly half the game, Smith went 15 of 22 for 206 yards and 3 TD. Incumbent starter Shaun Hill passed for 209 yards in Week 1 but hasn’t topped 200 yards since, averaging just 157 passing yards a game. He’s passed for only 5 TD in 6 games. Head coach Mike Singletary is saying he needs to see the film before deciding who starts next week. However, with the team having lost 3 of 4 with the lone win coming against the also-ran Rams, look for Smith to be behind center next week against the Colts.
- Jason Snelling, Falcons – With Jerious Norwood having a subpar season and now out with a hip injury, Snelling came to the rescue for the Falcons this week against the Cowboys with 68 yards rushing on 7 carries and a reception that went for 10 yards. Snelling’s rushing totals topped those of Michael Turner and he displayed good moves and speed on his runs. With Turner struggling to regain his form of 2008 and Norwood also struggling, there’s a reasonable chance that Snelling will continue to get 6-8 touches a game.
- Roy Williams, Cowboys – Austin has clearly established himself as Tony Romo’s go-to wide receiver and the Cowboys best big play threat. On the other side of the equation is Williams, who still doesn’t seem to be on the same page as Romo and even when he is, he seems to drop the ball or make a play of little consequence. Hard to believe a player with his considerable physical ability produces so little.
- LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – The good news is that the Chargers fed him the rock in close numerous times this week. The bad news is that the only time LT found the end zone the play was nullified by a penalty. Until the Chargers improve in short yardage, LT’s upside is limited.
- Greg Jennings, Packers – Jennings is still a solid receiver but the bottom line is that after scoring 21 TD over the last 2 seasons, he has lost his knack for finding the end zone. Defenses are focusing on shutting him down and the Packers have had to rely on a short passing game due to their inability to pass protect. Jennings isn’t producing big plays and he is one the biggest fantasy disappointments at wide receiver thus far in 2009.
- Steven Jackson, Rams – Another game, another 100-plus total yards and again no trips to the end zone. Jackson is now up to 164 touches and 804 total yards on the season without a score.
- Anquan Boldin, Cardinals – Boldin’s stat line looks decent enough with 3 catches for 75 yards. However, he was clearly struggling and by the end of the game had no chance of generating any separation in man coverage. It looks like the high ankle sprain he suffered last week will result in him having to take at least a week off at some point in order for him to recuperate.
- Larry Johnson, Chiefs – Another frustrating performance this week for LJ owners. Against a suspect Chargers run defense, he managed only 49 yards on 16 carries which actually RAISED his yards per carry average to 2.7. Touchdowns on the year – nada. At some point, the rebuilding Chiefs have to go to Jamaal Charles or even Kolby Smith (just reinstated from the PUP) to see what they have in those two players.
- Jay Cutler, Bears – The interception barrage continues for Cutler who is now up to 10 picks on the year and on pace for a whopping 27 by season’s end. Simply put, owning Cutler in leagues that penalize interceptions is a big negative on his value. His propensity for interceptions and the potential for bad weather games late in the season make owning him as your starting quarterback extremely risky.
- Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs – Sure, he had 7 fantasy points this week on 11 receiving yards and a TD. Bowe now had 301 receiving yards and 4 TD in 6 games. It says here that at some point, the touchdowns are going to stop coming and he’s going to be a 50 yard a game guy. That’s my prediction. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants – He didn’t have a good game this week against the Cardinals with only 32 yards on 12 carries and earned the wrath of the coaching staff by losing a key fumble in the 4th quarter and then taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the team’s last gasp final drive. At that point, he got yanked. Whether that’s the end of the message or was just the beginning will be determined next week against the Eagles.
- Mario Manningham, Giants – Another sub-60 yard outing for Manningham this week, making it 6 such outings in 7 games this year. That and the fact he dropped a long pass this week that would have been a touchdown are the downsides. On the plus side, he is averaging over 7 targets a game this year and could have significantly more fantasy points if he were making the most of his chances.
- Tashard Choice, Cowboys – With all 3 Cowboys backs healthy this week, Choice had a reception for 23 yards and didn’t get a single carry, the first time that has happened in his career. He’s clearly third in the pecking order which makes him useless in standard leagues unless Marion Barber and/or Felix Jones gets hurt. Granted, both players have shown a propensity to miss time over the last 2 seasons.
- Ted Ginn Jr., Dolphins – Ginn seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough after his 11 recepetion, 108 yard performance against the Colts in Week 2. Since then, he’s managed just 5 receptions for 77 yards and a TD. This week, he caught 2 balls on 8 targets for 16 yards and suffered a couple of bad drops. If anything, he seems to have regressed.
By: Dave Stringer — October 22, 2009 @ 11:04 pm
- Jay Cutler, Bears – Let’s start out with a bit of a caveat here – Cutler’s value is reduced in leagues that take away points for interceptions. That being said, Cutler’s in his first year in Chicago and part of his early season struggles can be attributed to his getting on the same page as his receivers and getting acquainted with the team’s playbook and offensive philosophy. A quick peak ahead shows 4 poor pass defenses are up next for the Bears and 8 of the team’s remaining 10 opponents have pass defenses ranked 21st or lower.
- LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – LT was back this week and, although he wasn’t the LT of old, he looked good against a solid Broncos defense. However, he didn’t find the end zone so he finished with 10 fantasy points, a decent score but not enough to scream out that he’s back. The Chargers next 4 opponents are the Chiefs, Raiders, Giants and Eagles, who rank 25th, 28th, 18th and 15th against the run. Then it’s the Broncos (4th) followed by the Browns (30th) and the Chiefs again. The fantasy playoffs feature decent but not great run defenses. In short, if he can stay healthy (granted a big if), he should put up solid numbers over the balance of the season.
- Santonio Holmes, Steelers – Holmes has had a quiet fantasy season despite being on pace for just under 1,200 yards receiving. The problem is that he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1. So, despite being the main big play threat on an offense that is on pace for over 5,000 yards passing, Holmes is on pace for only 133 fantasy points. Basically, something has to give here and if you believe the Steelers are now a passing team, then Holmes is a solid buy low candidate.
- Sammie Stroughter, Bucs – Defenses have turned their attention to shutting down tight end Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant is struggling with injuries and Michael Clayton is, well, he’s Michael Clayton. Plus, the Bucs are horrible, trailing often and forced to play catch up. Stroughter had 65 yards on three catches which came on only 4 targets plus he showed his playmaking ability by returning a kickoff for a touchdown. In deep leagues, Stroughter is a solid option given the dearth of talent at wide receiver in Tampa Bay.
- Tom Brady, Patriots – Trade a quarterback coming off a 6 TD performance in a little more than half a game? Are you crazy? Maybe. If there’s a team in your league willing to part with a handsome bounty for Brady, pull the trigger. The Titans were forced to start 2 rookie cornerbacks plus the entire defense was horrible. Prior to this week, Brady had two solid fantasy outings, a pair of average games and a dud against the Jets. Over the next 10 weeks, the Patriots face 5 top 11 pass defenses, including 2 in the fantasy playoffs. It will take some guts but if the offer is outstanding, you need to take it.
- Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Maroney has moved to the forefront of the Patriots backfield due to injuries to Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris and notched 19 fantasy points this week on 133 total yards and a TD. BenJarvus Green-Ellis stole some carries this week but they were in mop up duty so it looks like Maroney is the starter in New England until Taylor and Morris get healthy. The problem is that in 3 plus years in the league he has never put together a long stretch of solid outings. If somebody wants to ignore his history, move him.
- Clinton Portis, Redskins – Move quickly on this one. The Redskins offense and their team is in tatters. Quarterback Jason Campbell is likely one bad game away from going to the bench. Head coach Jim Zorn lost his play calling duties this week and may be one more bad game away from unemployment. Plus, Portis is coming off his 1st 100-yard game of the season and it came against a bad Chiefs team. Looking deeper, 78 of those yards came on one play and he only had 31 yards on his other 14 carries. Plus, he now has a sprained ankle to go with bone spurs in both ankles. This is a sell high and a sell now.
- Tony Scheffler, Broncos – Prior to this week’s 101-yard, 1 TD performance against the Chargers, Scheffler’s best fantasy performance was in Week 2 when he had a catch for 2 yards that went for a touchdown. Simply put, the Broncos offense (much like the Patriots offense when Josh McDaniels was the offensive coordinator there) only occasionally features the tight end position. With the Chargers having released one starting safety (Clinton Hart) and their other starting safety (Eric Weddle) one of the most overrated players in the league, Scheffler was in the game plan this week. Plus, 52 of his yards this week came on one play where the coverage was bad and the tackling was atrocious. Don’t bank on that happening frequently over the balance of the season.
By: Dave Stringer — October 20, 2009 @ 10:17 pm
- Tom Brady, Patriots – After putting up just 2 really good fantasy outings in 5 games, Brady owners were waiting for the cork on the champagne to burst and it did this week. Brady put up 380 yards and 6 TD which was good for 43 fantasy points (4 points per pass TD). Granted, a lot of the yards came on blown coverages but Brady was accurate, something he hasn’t been on many throws this year.
- Ray Rice, Ravens – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That’s what Willis McGahee owners should be saying. In their last two games (one close, the other coming from behind), McGahee had 2 and 7 touches for zero fantasy points. Rice had 21 and 20 touches for 49 fantasy points. Verdict: if the Ravens are playing a patsy, McGahee is worth starting. Otherwise, forget about it. Rice, on the other hand, can be used week in and week out.
- Thomas Jones, Jets – 210 yards and a TD on the ground qualify you for moving up. However, after next week’s game against the Raiders, the schedule gets tougher and that might be the point where you try to move him.
- DeAngelo Williams, Panthers – This one deserves a qualification because it came against the Bucs. Regardless, 150 rushing yards and 2 TD is a nice bounceback performance for Williams, who has struggled mightily to follow up his monster campaign from a year ago. Unfortunately, after this weeks game against the Bills, three of the Panthers next four games are against the Cardinals, Saints and Dolphins, the 1st, 5th and 3rd best run defenses in the league.
- Brian Westbrook, Eagles – Westbrook proved he was back to health this week, totalling 151 total yards on 15 touches, a nice 10 yards per touch average. Sure, it came against the sadsack Raiders but they were respectable this Sunday and the bigger news is that it appears that Westbrook is now ready to resume the lead role in what figures to be a top 5 offense at season’s end.
- LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – LT looked good this week against a stingy Broncos defense, putting up 100 total yards on 21 touches. He didn’t find the end zone but could have had quarterback Philip Rivers not missed him on a sideline pattern. Plus, head coach Norv Turner is likely reconsidering his decision to go with Darren Sproles on 3rd and goal from the 2 yard line. Considering Turner’s decision to go with Sproles on 4th down late in the Ravens game was also a failure, that was a particularly horrendous play call. Like I said earlier, fool me twice, shame on me.
- Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – With Willie Parker’s toe apparently back to health, Mendenhall’s fantasy owners were keenly watching this week’s game against the Browns to see how the carries would be split between the 2 players. Mendenhall finished with 19 touches for 77 yards and a score while Parker played second fiddle with 8 touches for 35 yards. Consider Mendenhall the starter until further notice.
- Wes Welker, Patriots – 18 catches for 236 yards and 3 TD over the past 2 weeks. Consider it confirmed that he is back to full health and must start status on your fantasy squad.
- Sidney Rice, Vikings – It looks like Rice is developing into Brett Favre‘s go-to receiver in Minnesota. He has 363 yards and 2 TD on 18 receptions over the past 4 weeks, including 176 yards this week against the Ravens. However, he’s only averaging just over 6 targets a game so I would feel better about him if that number was a little higher.
- Heath Miller, Steelers – Miller was a bit of a fantasy bust in 2008 with 514 receiving yards and 3 TD. He remained an afterthought after a couple of quiet games to start the season but has been on fire over the past three weeks with a TD every week (4 in total) and 204 receiving yards on 18 receptions. Consider him starter material until further notice.
- Johnny Knox – Bears – A TD in 3 of his last 4 games. Quarterback Jay Cutler likes to spread it around but he’s looking Knox’s way when it counts the most.
- Steve Breaston, Cardinals – Anquan Boldin may have a high ankle sprain that could keep him out for a few weeks and Breaston had 1,003 yards and 3 TD last year in a backup role. If Boldin is out or used as a decoy, Breaston will be solid bye week filler.
- Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Look, he really is moving up but I’m warning you not to drink the Kool-Aid. With Fred Taylor out, Sammy Morris injured early this week against the Titans AND the Titans completely disinterested, Maroney went off for 123 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Those are the facts. Do with them what you may.
- Jeff King, Panthers. A TD in 2 straight games. With defenses focusing their attention on Steve Smith, King is benefitting in close. Only 4 receptions for 38 yards in 2 games isn’t pretty but you could do worse if you need bye week filler at tight end.
- Michael Crabtree, 49ers – He’s my last Moving Up and, yes, that has some significance. The bottom line is that the 49ers are moving him into the starting line-up ahead of Josh Morgan in his first game after missing all of the off-season due to injury and all of training camp because he was a holdout. Maybe that means he’s good. Then again, maybe it’s just another in a long line of horrendous personnel decisions by the 49ers. Either way, having Crabtree in the starting line-up this week is certainly an eye opening move by the team’s coaching staff.
- Matt Hasselbeck, Julius Jones, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson and John Carlson, Seahawks – Well, if the offensive line can’t pass protect, you can’t expect much of a passing game, now can you? Ditto for the running game. Every one of these guys should be on your bench until the line gets healthy. Sometimes it’s that simple.
- Matt Forte, Bears – I’ve been saying all along that this guy is an average talent and he’s proving me right. He put up a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry as a rookie and is down to 3.4 yards a carry this year. With a solid quarterback in town, the Bears are relying less on Forte. He’s on pace for 47 fewer touches and 89 fewer fantasy points than last season. Plus, the offensive line isn’t opening up holes like they did last season with left guard Frank Omiyale the leading culprit.
- Greg Jennings, Packers – The Packers were expected to get him more involved after the bye but against a bad Lions defense, Jennings posted another ho-hum game with 6 receptions for 64 yards. In prior years, the TD gods shined brightly on him but it hasn’t happened this year with just one score in 5 games.
- Steve Smith, Panthers – Smith has hit double digit fantasy points just once this year, has yet to find the end zone and finally lost his cool this week after his lone reception went for 4 yards, stating he was no longer an asset to his team. The problem is more likely that Jake Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad are no longer assets to the team and the running game has struggled so defenses can double team Smith with impunity.
- Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – Other than a week 1 outing against the Bengals, Moreno had run the ball well and seemed to have secured the lead role in Denver due to Correll Buckhalter‘s shoulder injury. That is, until his stinker this week against a very suspect Chargers run defense. Looks like the 2 series to 1 series split will continue in Bronco land.
- Willie Parker, Steelers – Read Mendenhall above. When a speed back who has never contributed much in the passing game quits contributing big plays, he heads to the bench and ultimately off the roster. It looks like Parker has this year and perhaps next before the Steelers move on without him.
- Pierre Thomas, Saints – Remarkably, this was the first game this year where Thomas and Mike Bell were both healthy so it was an important one for fantasy purposes. And yes, that was Mike Bell you saw lunging into the end zone in this week’s game against the Giants. And yes, Reggie Bush and Heath Evans also had rushing touchdowns this week. It looks like Thomas is in line for more carries with Bell spelling him and getting the goal line work, which makes Thomas much less valuable.
- Donnie Avery, Rams – This guy is looking like a junior version of Joey Galloway and Santana Moss. First he’s useless. Then it seems like he’s going to get going. Then he gets hurt. Good luck with this guy.
- Mark Sanchez, Jets – You didn’t believe the hype, did you? I sure hope not.
- Kerry Collins, Titans – The Titans are finished for 2009 and Vince Young is due a large roster bonus in the off-season. Unless the Titans are convinced Young is NOT the answer, he will move into the starting line-up, possibly after their Week 7 bye. By the way, Young has Titans owner Bud Adams in his corner.
- Jason Campbell, Redskins – There is a new play caller in Washington this week and likely a new quarterback in the near future.
- Derrick Ward, Bucs – Two touches this week and overall they are in decline (14, 10, 7, 6, 2). This offseason free agent signing is looking like a bust for the Bucs and his fantasy owners.
Not Sold Yet
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants – More than anything, it seems like a fluke that Bradsaw is the Giants back getting all of the touchdowns. Plus, if they were going to move him into the lead role, wouldn’t they have done it by now? Seems like a sell high to me.
- Torry Holt, Jaguars – 95 yards last week against the Seahawks was nice and 101 this week against the Rams was a bonus. However, neither team has a solid pass defense, Mike Sims-Walker didn’t play against the Seahawks and Holt was stoked to play his old team. Hopefully you benefited from the renaissance but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last.
By: Dave Stringer — October 16, 2009 @ 11:11 pm
We’re still running a day behind this week recovering from the turkey, but you’ve still got a couple days to wheel and deal before Sunday kickoff with Dave’s buy low, sell high candidates.
- Joseph Addai, Colts – Playing a bit of a hunch here but here goes. After 4 games, rookie 1st round pick Donald Brown had reached the point where he was splitting touches with Addai. However, over the last 2 games, Addai has reversed the trend and received 19 and 24 touches to 10 and 8 for Brown. So, if you’re playing the trends, the trend is that Addai is being spelled by Brown and that makes him a valuable commodity in the Colts explosive offense.
- Brandon Jacobs, Giants – Giants coach Tom Coughlin let the cat out of the bag this week by stating that the team felt Ahmad Bradshaw‘s workload was where it should be. Translation: Jacobs is our starter and Bradshaw will get 10-15 touches a game. Jacobs has only 1 TD this year but is on pace for 300 carries and over 1,100 yards so you if you believe the TD will come, then you should be buying.
- Ryan Grant, Packers – Similar theme here with Grant finding the end zone only once so far in 2009. However, he’s on pace for 1,028 rushing yards and 332 receiving yards on an offense that features many talented playmakers but has suffered due to poor play on the offensive line. The o-line just got a boost thanks to the return of LT Chad Clifton from injury and signing of RT Mark Tauscher.
- Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – This is a serious case of buy now. Incumbent Chiefs starter Larry Johnson is suffering through the worst year of his career (2.4 yards per carry, 101 touches with no TD) and the 0-5 Chiefs are clearly in rebuilding mode, so at some point, likely sooner than later, Charles is going to receive an increased workload. There’s no guarantee Charles will start producing major fantasy points but the opportunity will be there.
- Thomas Jones, Jets – With the Bills and Raiders up next, it might be wise to wait a couple of weeks to move Jones but if the offer is right, move him now. Jones is looking old, slow to the hole and offers nothing in the receiving game (2 catches in 5 games). He’s splitting time with Leon Washington, is averaging 3.7 yards per carry and is on pace for only 867 yards. His fantasy production is bloated due to 5 TD in 5 games and it’s a guarantee that he can’t keep up the pace.
- Mario Manningham, Giants – The competition for targets in the Giants offense is fierce. Eli Manning doesn’t have a great arm to succeed in cold weather and it’s going to start getting cold in New York soon. Plus, removing his big game against Dallas, Manningham has averaged 2.5 receptions, 48 yards and 0.5 TD per game. If somebody’s buying him as a WR2, then you should be selling.
- Jamal Lewis, Browns – The Browns offense stinks, the 30-year old Lewis has already missed 2 of 5 games and it took him 31 carries to get 117 yards against a banged up Bills defense this week. With a dearth of playmakers on offense and no consistency at the quarterback position, the Browns will struggle to score points for the rest of the season. With the Steelers, Packers, Bears and Ravens up next, it’s high time to move him.
- Miles Austin, Cowboys – Let’s see, his big game came in his first start with Cowboys top receiver Roy Williams on the shelf and two of their top running backs (Marion Barber and Felix Jones) either out with injury (Jones) or ineffective because of injury (Barber). Plus the Chiefs can’t tackle, at all.
- Santana Moss, Redskins – In 5 games, the Redskins have played one quality defense (Giants). The other 4 were against the Rams, Lions, Buccaneers and Panthers. Despite that, Moss has hit double digit fantasy points only twice and in one of those games he only had 2 receptions. In the other 3 games, he has averaged 3 receptions for 28 yards.
By: Dave Stringer — October 14, 2009 @ 8:42 pm
Braylon Edwards made a big splash in his Jets debut. Miles Austin had a monster game against the Chiefs. Roddy White finally lived up to his pre-season billing. Here are all the players moving up and down in value from Week 5.
- Braylon Edwards, Jets – That whole thing about needing to learn the offense apparently doesn’t apply to Edwards. The dropped potential TD pass was ugly but otherwise a sensational performance under the circumstances.
- Brandon Marshall, Broncos – Looks like Josh McDaniels has figured out that Marshall is far and away the team’s best receiver and offensive weapon. Hopefully he doesn’t forget.
- Cedric Benson, Bengals – The first running back in 39 games to put up 100 yards on the ground against the Ravens. Top 5 in the league in total yards. Enough said.
- Miles Austin, Cowboys – First start, first 250 yard receiving game. Maybe the light has come on. With Patrick Crayton struggling since his opening week performance and better suited to line up in the slot, Austin should be in the starting line-up for the remainder of the season.
- Jeremy Maclin, Eagles – Let’s be honest – Maclin benefitted this week because he was a big part of the game plan with DeSean Jackson being used as a decoy and Kevin Curtis out with a knee injury. Jackson is going to get more than 3 targets most weeks but this game marks Maclin’s arrival on the scene and there is no reason to expect the Eagles to move Curtis back into the starting line-up.
- Austin Collie, Colts – His targets are on the upswing (3, 3, 6, 7, 8) and he’s had 3 TD over the last 2 weeks. Collie is getting more targets than Pierre Garcon and now seems like the better bet when Anthony Gonzalez returns from his knee injury.
- Donnie Avery, Rams – Rams quarterback Marc Bulger is back next week and Avery just had his best game of the season with 5 receptions for 87 yards and a TD. The Rams offense is putrid but can’t stay this bad the whole season (at least Steven Jackson owners, myself included, hope not).
- Nate Burleson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – Apparently the Seahawks duo were energized by Matt Hasselbeck‘s return, each going off for 2 TD and Burleson posting 98 yards to Houshmandzadeh’s 77.
- Roddy White, Falcons – Prime example of why you never give up on a top talent like White. With 17 fantasy points through 3 games, White was looking like a colossal bust. However, he broke out this week with 210 yards and 2 TD against a solid 49ers defense.
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants – At some point, the numbers don’t lie. After 5 weeks, Bradshaw has more yards and TD on far fewer touches than Brandon Jacobs, good enough for 14th overall at running back to 27th for Jacobs.
- Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings – Similar theme here. Last year, Shiancoe had 7 TD and this year he is on pace for 10. Brett Favre loves his TE from inside the 10 yard line.
- Jamal Lewis, Browns – Lewis returned from injury this week to post 117 yards on 31 carries. Supposed phenom Jerome Harrison had 8 carries for 21 yards. Now we know how the Browns coaches rank each player.
- Donovan McNabb, Eagles – McNabb came back strong this week and went 16 of 21 for 264 yards and 3 scores. The 30 rushing yards were a nice bonus. The Eagles offense is solid and McNabb should put up plenty of fantasy points over the remainder of the season.
- Eddie Royal, Broncos – Another example of a player being too good to stay bad for too long. Royal re-emerged this week to put up 10 catches for 90 yards. The 15 targets were particularly encouraging.
- Marshawn Lynch, Bills – The Bills offense can’t score but Lynch is getting the touches over Fred Jackson – 13 to 12 in Lynch’s first week back and 23 to 15 this week.
- Steven Jackson, Rams – 118 touches and no scores. Will he ever find the end zone? He’s on pace for over 1,700 total yards and no TD. Incredible.
- Kerry Collins, Titans – The Titans are 0-5, Collins is 36 years old and the team needs to find out if Vince Young can be their QB in 2010. Collins will be heading to the bench soon and the only reason it’s not this week is because Jeff Fisher doesn’t want to feed Vince Young to the Patriots and their bye comes after this week’s game.
- Derek Anderson, Browns – Just in case you thought he was capable of a renaissance season, he goes out and completes two measly passes.
- Larry Johnson, Chiefs – The Chiefs keep giving him the ball and LJ keeps doing nothing with it. At some point, head coach Todd Haley will read the stats – 93 carries for 226 yards or 2.4 a pop. Plus, the Chiefs need to throw it and LJ isn’t much of a receiving threat. Which begs the question – why is he in there?
- Justin Gage, Titans – In his last two games, Gage has two catches for 22 yards and that was against the Jaguars and Colts. If the team decides to go with Young, Gage and all of the Titans receivers are likely to struggle.
- Laveranues Coles, Bengals – He put up an 0-fer this week and it looks like he is completely washed up. With a number of young receivers waiting in the wings, the Bengals must be losing patience waiting for Coles to reclaim his past glory.
- Fred Jackson, Bills – Despite his fantastic start to the season, Jackson has clearly been relegated to backup duty in Buffalo. With the offense not scoring, his status as a solid flex option has been reduced.
- Jerome Harrison, Browns – Read Jamal Lewis, above.
Not Sold Yet
- Jerricho Cotchery, Jets – Edwards had a huge day in his first game as a Jet and Cotchery seemed to be an afterthought with 4 yards receiving on only 2 targets. However, that was due to a hamstring injury which will likely keep him out this week. It says here that Cotchery will be the Jets top producing wideout down the stretch so he’s a great target in trade talks.
- Sammy Morris, Patriots – With Fred Taylor out indefinitely and Laurence Maroney, well, Laurence Maroney, Morris figures to be The Man in the Patriots backfield. Unfortunately, translating that into fantasy points in your line-up has never been easy.
By: Dave Stringer — October 6, 2009 @ 4:36 pm
Week 4 is in the books and with four solid offensive teams on byes (Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, Eagles), it was the first week for fantasy owners to find out if their bench players would rise to the occasion. Safe to say that some did and many didn’t given the scoring this week.
In other news, I feel like a converted man this week. I’m beginning to believe in a bunch of players that I’ve never believed in before. Hopefully they don’t let me down.
- Steve Smith, Giants – Now I believe. Meet fantasy football’s top WR after four weeks. It’s kind of embarrassing but it’s taken me four weeks to jump on the “other” Steve Smith bandwagon. This Steve Smith is averaging 16 fantasy points per game, is 2nd amongst WRs in targets and looks like Eli Manning’s go-to receiver in an offense that has been surprisingly pass heavy. Am I convinced he will keep it up? Absolutely not but I am convinced that he is now a mid-tier WR2.
- Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars – Now I believe. Meet fantasy football’s 4th ranked WR. Take out a Week 1 clunker (no points – is there a reason the Jags started Troy Williamson ahead of this guy?) and Sim-Walker has the 2nd highest average points per game. He’s aveaged 10 targets over the last 3 weeks and is clearly David Garrard‘s go-to guy. Sorry if I’m sounding redundant but the facts are the facts.
- Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – He’s hit double digit fantasy points two weeks in a row and scored a TD in each game. Plus, backup Correll Buckhalter suffered a sprained ankle this week that had him on crutches after the game although he indicated that he felt fine. Think new head coach Josh McDaniels’ Belichick-inspired injury policies are filtering down to the players? Up next are the Patriots (103 rushing yards to Ray Rice this week) and Chargers (28th ranked run defense).
- Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – After getting benched in Week 3, Mendenhall came on strong this week against the Chargers putting up 165 yards and 2 TD on the ground to go with 26 receiving yards. With Willie Parker not producing on a consistent basis, Mendenhall’s performance increases the likelihood he will get a shot as the feature back. At worst, he’s earned more carries and likely the goal line work given his strong performance in that area this week.
- Ricky Williams, Dolphins – With another strong performance this week, Williams is on pace for 992 rushing yards, 248 receiving yards and 12 TD. The TD help put him in low RB2 status or make him an excellent play in flex leagues. With Chad Henne at QB, the Dolphins are going to run plenty so Williams should provide consistent production.
- Derek Anderson, Browns – He’s likely available on the waiver wire and he just put up solid numbers against a decent Bengals defense. If you’re in need of a starter in Week 5, you could do worse than Anderson going against a Bills pass defense that is ranked in the bottom half of the league and will be missing two or three starters.
- Jerome Harrison, Browns – Not that you want to own any Cleveland players, but they are coming off their best offensive performance of the season, Jamal Lewis may not be part of their plans going forward, rookie 6th round pick James Davis was just placed on injured reserve and Harrison had 121 rushing yards plus 31 through the air.
- Bernard Berrian, Vikings – Berrian was a forgotten many after three weeks with only 102 yards receiving, partially explained by a hamstring injury suffered during the pre-season. However, he got open deep this week for a score and finished with 75 yards on 6 receptions. Bottom line is that Berrian is the team’s best deep threat and Brett Favre likes to throw deep. So the question is – prior to this week, were the Vikings not going deep because they don’t want to or because Berrian was hurt?
- Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns – Braylon Edwards‘ disappearing act continues with an 0-fer this week. Massaquoi stepped into the breach with 148 yards on 8 receptions. If Anderson’s going to throw it to him 13 times every week, then he’s a decent option as a WR3 or bye week filler.
- Sam Hurd, Cowboys – Other than in Week 1 against the Bucs, Roy Williams hasn’t got it done. Ditto for Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin. And with those three guys leading the Cowboys WR corps, Tony Romo hasn’t gotten it done for the past three weeks. So, doesn’t it reason that it’s time for the Cowboys to give Hurd a shot? Of course, that would mean relying on Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett thinking logically so maybe it’s not such a sure thing.
- Earl Bennett, Bears – The good news for Bennett is that both Devin Hester and Johnny Knox suffered injuries this week. The bad news is that Bennett still only had two targets. So, the injury news later this week should tell us if the glass is half-full or half-empty.
- Michael Bush and Justin Fargas, Raiders – Hey, if you’re desperate, grab one of these guys. The Raiders are saying Darren McFadden is out 2-4 weeks with a torn meniscus but the typical recovery from this type of injury is 4-6 weeks. The smart money should be on Bush because he’s the younger of the two and the Raiders are going nowhere this year. However, good luck crawling into Al Davis’ head on this one. And yes, he is likely the one to decide who gets the bulk of the workload with McFadden out.
- Jermichael Finley, Packers – Finley was a clueless rookie in 2008 but there were reports in training camp that the light was coming on. In Week 4, it shone brightly with 6 receptions for 128 yards and a TD.
- Rashad Jennings, Jaguars – Jennings had 9 carries for 53 yards in mop-up duty this week against the Titans. Nothing to get excited about but he has apparently moved ahead of Montell Owens and Greg Jones to secure handcuff status behind Maurice Jones-Drew.
- Ryan Moats, Texans – Ditto for Moats who has supplanted Chris Brown as Steve Slaton‘s backup and had 56 yards on 15 carries after the Texans had put away the Raiders.
- Drew Brees, Saints – After Week 2, he was on pace for 5,352 passing yards and 72 TD passes. Since then, he’s thrown for 362 yards and no TDs. Hey, I’m not down on him but you have to admit that he’s moved down since Week 2. If you’ve got a chance to get him, go for it. The price might never be cheaper.
- Tony Romo, Cowboys – Romo looked like a stud in Week 1 against the Bucs with 29 fantasy points. Since then, he has averaged 14 points per game and that was aided by a Week 2 rushing TD. He was scattershot this week against the Broncos who took away TE Jason Witten with constant double coverage. The team’s wide receivers have struggled and until someone emerges at the position, Romo is going to continue to struggle.
- Eli Manning, Giants – Manning has put together a nice 4-game stretch, averaging over 21 fantasy points a game, which begs the question – why is he Moving Down? Well, methinks trying to plant and throw with plantar fasciitis is going to be a tad painful. The Giants are saying he’s had it for weeks but he aggravated it this week. This type of injury lingers once it’s been aggravated.
- Clinton Portis, Redskins – He’s been here before and he’s here again. In games against the Rams, Lions and Bucs, he has 234 total yards and no TD. Enough said.
- Darren McFadden, Raiders – The good news is that the Texans stacked the box and that mostly explains McFadden’s 6 carries for minus 3 yards. Or was it because he was playing with a torn meniscus? The bad news is that the previously forgotten Justin Fargas had 10 carries and quarterback JaMarcus Russell had another horrendous game. With Russell at the helm and no decent option at backup QB (Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski), the Raiders offense figures to struggle for the balance of the season. Looks like McFadden’s breakout season will not materialize this year or perhaps ever.
- Roy Williams, Cowboys – I gave up on Williams in a dynasty league after Week 2 when he had 1 reception for 18 yards. That followed a Week 1 performance that was aided by a blown coverage that went for a TD. Let’s just say that Thomas Jones and Williams for Moreno and Santana Moss is looking good right now. The Cowboys are saying that Williams wasn’t on the field for their final, last gasp attempt to tie the Broncos because he had an undisclosed injury. Presumably he had the wind knocked out of him on a hard hit. Frankly, it’s hard to conclude that his presence would have mattered in the outcome of the game. And his presence isn’t helping your fantasy roster either.
- Mario Manningham, Giants – Rookie 1st round pick Hakeem Nicks is back and had an explosive 54-yard catch and run TD this week while Manningham caught just 1 of the 8 passes that came his way, although it was for 43 yards. I wouldn’t move him just yet but it would be nice to see him step up when all of the team’s WR are healthy.
- JaMarcus Russell, Raiders – He’s horrible. Plain and simple. His wide receivers are horrible. There are no reasons why he should be on your fantasy roster. Be an adult. Own up to it. You blew it when you got this guy. Get rid of him. Now.
- Chris Brown, Texans – Lost his job to Moats and didn’t get a single carry in this week’s blowout win over the Raiders. Kiss him goodbye.
- Kyle Boller, Rams – In case you were thinking the Rams were going to give Boller a shot to keep the job when Marc Bulger returns from injury, this week’s performance should cause you to think otherwise.
Not Sold Yet
- Sammy Morris, Patriots – His Week 4 line goods good: 21 yards and a TD on the ground and 35 receiving yards. Unfortunately, the Patriots spread it around too much at RB for any one player to have value. Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney each had 7 carries. Kevin Faulk had 5 and Morris had 6. The only difference on the stat line was the TD. Good luck predicting which RB gets that every week.
- Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars – 4 for 76 and a TD for the confounding Lewis this week. He looks the part and has now posted two games of 60-plus yards and a TD. Lewis has the talent and with little depth at WR behind Torry Holt and Sims-Walker, there is a decent chance that he will get consistent touches over the balance of the season. However, I’m not buying yet.
- Glen Coffee, 49ers – The rookie put up 106 total yards in his first start this week which seems decent enough. However, it took him 28 touches to get those yards, he never found the end zone and it all came against the pathetic Rams.
- Seneca Wallace, Seahawks – Matt Hasselbeck is apparently going to be back this week so Wallace’s 2-week run as the starter is over. Keep him in mind when Hasselbeck goes down again, likely sooner than later.
By: Dave Stringer — October 1, 2009 @ 10:28 am
Three weeks into the NFL season and there are a pile of high profile players struggling to meet the expectations of their fantasy owners. At this point, there’s a chance that a third of your league is sitting at 0-3 and likely convinced that 0-4 will doom their season. With a number of high quality fantasy stars on the sidelines this week courtesy of byes for the Cardinals, Falcons, Eagles and Panthers, there are bound to be some major holes in the lineups of teams that need wins this week. It’s time to pounce.
- Pierre Thomas, Saints – Bit of risk with this one given that he is ostensibly the lead RB for the Saints powerful offense but a closer look reveals that all of his fantasy points this week came in the second half. Plus, he was apparently healthy enough to sub in for Mike Bell in Week 2 once Bell got hurt but didn’t get any carries before that. So in three weeks, he was hurt once, subbed in for Bell once and wasn’t used when the game was in doubt in the other game. Maybe I’m reading this one the wrong way but those are the facts.
- Jason Campbell, Redskins – After two lackluster performances, Campbell went off on the Lions this week for 340 yards and 2 TD passes. Throw in 21 yards on the ground and it was a tidy 27 fantasy points on the day. If somebody is viewing Campbell’s number 12 ranking at the QB position and making you an offer, think hard about it. The Redskins aren’t going to throw 41 times in game very often (once in 2008) plus there is a risk that Campbell will be benched if the team’s season continues to go south.
- Julius Jones, Seahawks – I had him here after his 20 point performance in Week 1 and he basically proved me right in Week 2 when he rushed for 9 yards and had -2 yards receiving. His fantasy performance was, however, saved by a receiving TD, making for one of the oddest stat lines you will ever see. It’s well known that Jones blows hot and cold and can’t be relied on when the Seahawks are on the road (4.5 fantasy points per game in 2008) or against tough defenses. There are 3 games over the remainder of the season where I would feel comfortable using him.
- Vernon Davis, 49ers – As I pointed out in this week’s Moving Up, Moving Down column, Davis has put up double digit fantasy points 5 times in 43 career games. He’s coming off a double digit game, he’s got a big name and the 49ers face the pathetic Rams this week. I’ll bet somebody in your league is willing to buy this snake oil.
- Tom Brady, Patriots – Whoever in your league has Brady likely paid dearly for him and may not be ready to throw in the towel just yet. However, Brady and the Patriots offense has struggled and faces a major test this week against the Ravens. If Brady doesn’t put up a nice performance on Sunday, have your offer ready for his owner on Monday morning.
- Clinton Portis, Redskins – No, I don’t like the Redskins offense. No, I don’t like Jason Campbell’s inability to generate many big plays. What I do like is Portis’ toughness (he hasn’t missed a game since 2006 despite being on the injury report on a regular basis) and his history of production. He has averaged between 13.1 and 21.1 fantasy points per game during his 7 year career. He’s currently at 7.0 PPG and that’s going to go up, starting this week against the Bucs 31st ranked run defense. He’s certainly not the Portis of old but his performance has to go up.
- Roddy White, Falcons – Entering the season, White was as high as the the 5th WR on many draft boards and generally no lower than 10th. After putting up 119 yards and 1 TD in three games, he’s nowhere near the top 10. The Falcons are on a bye and figure to spend a chunk of their time off devising ways to get White more involved.
- Braylon Edwards, Browns – With 139 yards and 10 receptions in three games, Edwards has basically done nothing to warrant much optimism. However, the Browns have moved Derek Anderson back into the stating QB role and he is much more of a downfield passer than Brady Quinn, which makes Edwards an interesting option. Edwards’ best season came in 2007 with Anderson under center. You won’t have to sell the farm to get fantasy football’s currently 62nd ranked WR.
- Terrell Owens, Buffalo – T.O.’s stock is so low that you can likely get him for a song. Granted his prospects aren’t great with Captain Checkdown (that would be Trent Edwards) at the controls of the Bills offense. Regardless, Owens has 16 fantasy points on the season mostly because he’s only had 13 targets which frankly, is a joke. As confounding as head coach Dick Jauron is, there’s no denying that the Bills need to get T.O. more involved. Buy low before that happens.
- Mike Bell, Saints – Read Pierre Thomas above. If you can grab this guy for next to nothing (which is very likely), then do it. This is as close to low risk, high reward as you can get.
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