- 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.