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Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 13

By: — November 29, 2011 @ 2:17 pm


Moving Up

Rex Grossman, Redskins
I know – it’s hard to drink the Rex Kool Aid so I’ll be quick (occasionally, that line works on my wife). In the last two games, he’s thrown for 603 yards with four touchdowns and three picks. He also chipped in a rushing touchdown in Week 11 against the Cowboys. He could do a face plant at any time but after the Jets this week, he gets the Patriots (32nd ranked pass defense), Giants (26th and slumping) and Vikings (29th). The schedule is definitely on his side and having Santana Moss back in the line up at wide receiver helps.

Kyle Orton, Chiefs
He’s gotta be in and that’s all I have to say about that.

Tyler Palko, Chiefs
After the Chiefs close loss to the Steelers this week, head coach Todd Haley said he wasn’t sure if the recently acquired Kyle Orton would start at quarterback rather than Palko. With Palko tossing six interceptions and losing in fumble over the course of two games (including four turnovers to a Steelers defense that had accumulated just six over the first ten games of the season), here’s guessing there’s not much to think about. Of course, Haley somehow thought the noodle armed, accuracy challenged Palko was good enough to be an NFL backup so maybe these decisions aren’t quite as obvious as they seem. I guess Palko as a backup isn’t quite as offensive as Ron Jaworski saying that he had an opportunity to be the next Kurt Warner.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Roy Helu, Redskins
Last week, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan opined that Helu wasn’t ready to be the team’s starting running back. Fantasy owners everywhere made sure Helu was sitting on their bench. Sure enough, Helu gets a whopping 30 touches against a stout Seahawks run defense and gains 108 rushing yards, 54 yards receiving and finds the end zone on a nice 28-yard run. And, oh yeah, he was in the starting line up. It’s a mixed bag of run defenses on the horizon (Jets, Patriots, Giants and Vikings over the next four weeks) but given Shanahan’s lack of consistency, it’s hard to start Helu over a guy like the Saints Darren Sproles who is guaranteed to get 10-15 touches every week. That being said, the Redskins aren’t getting to the playoffs, Helu is coming off a monster game and he has topped 100 total yards in all three games that he received at least 13 touches so doesn’t Shanahan have to start him?

LeGarrette Blount, Bucs
After topping 1,000 rushing yards in 2010 despite getting significant playing time in just 11 games, the expectations for Blount this season were pretty high. Unfortunately, he’s had a couple of bad games as well as two performances where he barely saw the field because the Bucs were trailing and he doesn’t contribute in the passing game. However, Blount has been rolling over the past two weeks, topping 100 rushing yards in each game and even chipping in a career-high 56 receiving yards this week against the Titans.

"Beast mode" is on a roll.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
It’s been touchdown or bust for Lynch in 2011 and it was nice to see him get on a run of six consecutive contests with a rushing touchdown prior to this week’s game against the Redskins. There was no rushing touchdowns this week but Lynch did top 100 yards rushing (24 for 111) for the third time in four games and also catch a pass for a 20 yard touchdown. He’s rolling at just the right time for his fantasy owners.

Mark Ingram, Saints
Absolutely loved the MNF comment attributed to Saints head coach Sean Payton that the only thing holding Ingram back from being the Rookie of the Year was Payton’s play calling (i.e. not enough touches for Ingram). Yeah, right. That and his atrocious 3.7 yards per carry and 3.6 yards per reception averages heading into Week 12. Giving credit where credit is due, Ingram arguably had a “career game” (little bit of sarcasm there, folks) with 13 carries for 80 yards and a score as well as two receptions for 14 yards. Maybe next week he will top 100 total yards for the first time in his career.

Moving Down

Steven Jackson, Rams
I was high on Jackson as the Rams entered the easier portion of their schedule but the team’s poor passing attack and absolutely devastating injury situation along the offensive line has made it tough sledding for the big Rams back. After three straight 100-yard rushing performances, Jackson has been mostly shut down over the last two weeks by the Seahawks and Cardinals as they stacked the box, limiting Jackson to 139 total yards and no touchdowns in those games. The Rams reshuffled, makeshift offensive line reads, from left to right, Adam Goldberg, Jacob Bell, Tony Wragge, Jason Brown and Harvey Dahl.

C.J. Spiller, Bills
As I said in my column on Fred Jackson’s season-ending injury, Spiller is ill-equipped to handle major touches and hasn’t done much during his first two years in the league. Sure enough, the Jets shut him down easily this week with Spiller gaining 55 yards on 19 carries and catching three passes for 15 yards. He just hasn’t shown anything to suggest that he is a capable NFL starter and his dancing in the backfield leads to far too many negative plays or minimal gains.

Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
With Reggie Bush stringing together a nice stretch of games, Thomas has seen his touches go down in games where the outcome is in doubt. After topping 16 or more touches in each of his first four games, Thomas has had two games with seven touches over his last four contests. And despite entering the league with a reputation as a solid short yardage option, the 228-pound former Kansas State product has found the end zone just once in his rookie season and that was on a pass reception.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
Peyton Hillis made a surprise appearance in the Browns starting line up this week, essentially torpedoing Ogbonnaya’s fantasy value. With Hillis getting a workmanlike 21 touches (and, no, he didn’t do much with them, gaining just 71 yards), Ogbonnaya barely saw the field, gaining 20 yards on four touches. Ogbonnaya’s not the most talented back in the league by any stretch but he did top 100 total yards in each of his last two games and with Hillis unlikely to be re-signed, it seems curious that the Browns gave Hillis so many touches.

Arian Foster, Texans
Just acknowledging that the presence of one T.J. Yates in the starting line up will impact Foster’s production. He’s still a top 10, maybe even top 5 running back the rest of the way but a monster performance may not be in the cards.

Matt Forte, Bears
With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, Forte has put up his second and third worst fantasy performances over the last two weeks, gaining 85 and 84 total yards in the process and failing to find the end zone. This week, the Bears inexplicably gave backup Marion Barber ten carries to Forte’s 12. Figure that one out. Is injury the issue? Who knows? Either way, Caleb Hanie starting with Jay Cutler out doesn’t help matters. The sad sack Chiefs are up next followed by the Broncos, Seahawks and Packers for the fantasy playoffs.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Johnny Knox, Bears
Let’s connect the dots. In the games that Jay Cutler started, Knox was averaging 4.3 targets, 2.4 receptions and 5.4 fantasy points per game. With Caleb Hanie under center this week, Knox had ten targets, catching four passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. Looks like the backup quarterback likes throwing to his former backup wide receiver. Hopefully offensive coordinator Mike Martz took notice but we all know that Mad Mike works to the beat of his own drummer.

Laurent Robinson, Cowboys
This week against the Dolphins, Robinson hauled in seven receptions for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With that performance, he has now caught 21 passes for 302 yards and five touchdowns in his four starts this season. While Miles Austin is expected back in the starting line up this week after missing three games with an injured hamstring, it’s hard to see the Cowboys relegating Robinson to a pure backup role. Consider him a low end WR3 but worthy of a flex start if your league uses that position.

Roddy White, Falcons
White tested the patience of his fantasy owners for much of 2011 but their patience has been rewarded over the past two weeks with White putting up his two best performances of the season. He had 147 receiving yards in Week 11 against the Titans and topped that this week against the Vikings with ten receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. And look for that production to continue as the coaching staff has been feeding him the ball (27 targets over the past two weeks). Julio Jones was active this week but not fully healthy. Regardless, White is on a roll and the rookie’s presence isn’t expected to change that.

Percy Harvin, Vikings
In another case of “It’s About Time”, how about the Vikings Percy Harvin? Harvin was a dud over the first nine games of 2011, topping 100 total yards once and finding the end zone just once. He scored his second touchdown in Week 11 against the Raiders and totaled 94 yards. This week, he scored again and put up 106 total yards. That gives the multifaceted Harvin 344 total yards and three scores over the past four weeks.

Brandon Lloyd, Rams
I’m guessing that Lloyd likes St. Louis and his fantasy owners like him in St. Louis. In six games with the Rams, Lloyd has 71 targets (that’s 11.8 per game and just one game where he didn’t hit double digit), 31 receptions, 396 yards and four touchdowns. With 10.6 points per game, he rates as a high end WR2 with upside should the Rams somehow find a way to get the offense clicking.

Moving Down

DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Alligator Arms Jackson dropped not one but two potential touchdown passes this week in a must win game for Philadelphia at home against the Patriots. Both catches were plays that teams expect their top wide receivers to make and both times Jackson came up short. The worst one came on a crossing route at the goal line where Jackson dropped an easy catch at the goal line in order to protect himself. If you want to get paid like a superstar, come up big in a big game like a superstar. Kudos to head coach Andy Reid for nailing his so-called superstar to the bench in the fourth quarter.

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Tyler Palko is absolutely horrendous and figures to be replaced next week by Kyle Orton, who will have had a week and a half to learn the playbook. That hurts Bowe as does his disappearing act this week against the Steelers at the end of the game. With the game on the line and less than a minute remaining, Bowe raised his arm for the ball to come his way. It did. Bowe jumped. And in order to protect himself, he didn’t bother to raise his arms, pirouetting in the air with his arms at his side. Steelers interception, game over. Another so-called superstar wide receiver who doesn’t get it.

Andre Johnson, Texans
Johnson’s a stud and you have to start him every week no matter who is at quarterback for Houston. However, I’m guessing that T.J. Yates was “trending” big time on Sunday after Matt Leinart suffered a suspected broken collarbone. It’s one thing to go from Matt Schaub to Leinart and quite another to go from Leinart to a rookie 5th round pick from North Carolina. Whether it is Yates or veteran retread Kellen Clemens, Johnson’s value is sinking unless the Texans find a veteran signal caller to spearhead the offense (Brett Favre anyone?).

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
Suffice it to say that Lewis owners have been sorely disappointed with his performance in 2011, after he posted a career year in 2010 with 700 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. Hard to believe but the seven reception, 64 yard performance Lewis had in Week 11 was his best stat line of the year and his four reception, 47 yard outing this week was his second best performance of the season. So, he’s trending up. Maybe next week, he will catch his first touchdown of the year (ugh).

Moving Down

Jermichael Finley, Packers
Let’s pretend Finley’s Week 3 explosion (seven receptions for 85 yards and three touchdowns) against the Bears never happened. Here’s what Finley’s stat line would read: ten games, 29 receptions, 428 yards, two touchdowns, 5.5 points per game. And 5.5 points per game is Heath Miller territory. Think low end TE2.

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 12

By: — @ 10:18 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Things are getting serious now as league leaders are fighting to hold on to their leads and wild cards are fighting for their rightful spots in the playoffs. Let’s get right into all of the fiery Week 12 matchups.

It was a tough day for Lions fans and fantasy owners. Matthew Stafford owners saw a 3:1 interception-to-touchdown ratio. Kevin Smith went down, Jahvid Best shortly after went on IR, and Jason Hanson was frankly lucky to get no points. If you are a Calvin Johnson owner, you have to be happy with 49 yards and a score, but that seems so paltry for this year’s most dominant wide receiver. In addition, it took him until the final seconds of the game to grab the score. Ouch. Still, with Cutler going down—and the Bears with him—the Lions may still be competing for a wild card late in the season.

For the Packers, this was probably their least impressive performance of the season. They had a couple of good drives capped with touchdowns by Greg Jennings and John Kuhn, but the rest were punts, field goals, and taking advantage of busted coverage. It wasn’t a bad outing per se, it just wasn’t the 40-point dominance these Packers typically show.

The Color Silver
How about that Ndamukong Suh? Nothing like a good old stomp to the breastplate. He reminds me of that one bully in elementary school who hit puberty at age seven and was six feet with a full-grown mustache by 12. Did you see him making Dietrich-Smith eat dirt? Ridiculous. The man is a thug just like James Harrison and Richie Incognito, and thugs have no place in the public eye. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t allow Suh on my team, ever if I had him for a 10-year deal at a dollar a year. I value attitude more than talent, and personality more than draft status, and that means Suh is worthless to me.

The biggest question for Cowboys owners is what will happen when Miles Austin comes back. A lot of Laurent Robinson’s big plays have been against broken coverage, as most big plays to receivers are, but he’s gained popularity and will not be going away. Especially with DeMarco Murray taking so many snaps, these Dallas receivers could soon become Saintly or Packeresque, in that they will all be valuable but rarely in the same week. For the Dolphins, they must’ve heard a rumor about an Andrew Luck drug habit or something. They were in the thick of it with Indianapolis (who has the right idea, by the way), and now they’re catching up with Buffalo and the Jets. As long as the Dolphins are on this tear, it will be awfully hard to sit Brandon Marshall in any format.

Christian Ponder is the anti-Tebow. He always looks better to me than his stat line. He’s proven his mobility, his competency, and his football IQ. Yet, when it all shakes out, all of that great play amounts to less than Matt Moore or Carson Palmer put up on the stat sheet. Still, however good Ponder has been, I don’t expect much next week when that stout Tebow defense comes to town. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan looked impressive. I am well documented in my opinion that the team is best served when Ryan has more hand-offs than pass attempts, but at least for this week Atlanta’s passing game was very successful. Look for a contingency plan for the playoffs if you’re a Julio Jones owner though, as that hamstring looks like it is going to frustrate him all season long.

Another huge drop by Stevie cost his team and his fantasy owners.

Though few would compare the two, Ryan Fitzpatrick performed just as well as Matt Ryan against a much tougher secondary. Any QB that throws three touchdowns needs to be owned in all leagues, even if he’s been fairly miserable the past few weeks. Similarly, Stevie Johnson also needs to be held on to. Many have been trumpeting that the Bills are back to being the Bills of old, that they are just as terrible as they used to be. I don’t buy that. I don’t know how useful they will be in the fantasy playoffs this year, but the Bills are the biggest fantasy force they’ve been in decades. For the Jets, it was an extremely forgettable game. Even though their receiving game had a monster fantasy day, Sanchez completed less than 50 percent of his passes for less than 200 yards, and Shonn Greene had only 13 total carries.

Sometimes I think the Bills must wear silver Under Armour. How else do you explain the fervor with which Steve Johnson lost this game for his team? There were boneheaded mistakes across the field for the wideout, as he dropped passes that rivaled his infamously dropped touchdown of a season ago. He has the natural talent of any receiver in the league, but if he gets any more excessive celebration fouls, it is going to get “so serious” really quick.

For the Browns, there are two main points. Peyton Hillis got all of the work for the RB squad, and Greg Little is the man among the WRs. As long as he’s healthy, Hillis is the only Cleveland Brown I would consider starting—and I’m not a fan of him, either. For the Bengals, Cedric Benson put up a good showing, but I’m going to need to see at least 60 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers next week to consider putting him in my lineup in the fantasy playoffs.

Someone I would trust in my fantasy playoffs is Mike Williams of the Buccaneers. He’s had a couple of solid performances and will finish the fantasy regular season against the Carolina Panthers. Start him in all formats. I would also start LeGarrette Blount in all formats against that Panthers D next week. For the Titans, the passing situation remained muddied with an even distribution among pass catchers. However, if you look at fantasy points scored, your choice would have to be Damian Williams—and it wouldn’t even be close. Chris Johnson had the first game this season where he truly looked like his old self, netting 19 points in yards alone. That would be enough for me to give him the go next week against the porous Buffalo defense.

Who would imagine that two teams with absolutely nothing to play for would get into a rushing battle? These two went at it to the tune of 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers, and Donald Brown alone had 80 yards and a touchdown for the Colts. Despite that, I wouldn’t touch any of these running backs with a ten-foot pole. I’d rather have Brandon Jacobs, if Bradshaw is out, over any of these guys.

Which has a better chance of happening next week against the Cowboys in Arizona: Beanie Wells rushes for 150 yards, or Kevin Kolb comes back and outscore Mark Sanchez in D.C.? For my money, I bet Kolb shows enough flashes of starter ability to keep suckers…I mean owners…starting him in the playoffs. For the Rams, Steven Jackson continues to be the only presence worth starting week in and week out, if only for his upside. But even if some of these guys seem to have starter ability, I wouldn’t feel confident using any player from either team for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, Andre Johnson came back just in time for Yates to stink up the playing field. I don’t think there is anyone else out there that the Texans could use ahead of Yates, which essentially ruins any playoff hopes. Baby steps, though, Texans fans. It wasn’t long ago that just making the playoffs was an off chance each year. For the Jaguars, I have only one triple-named player you should be concerned with: Cecil Shorts III. Kidding, of course. Only MJD is a factor on this team.

I do not think Hanie is as bad as the rep he’s getting. Johnny Knox was able to make his regular number of catches and yards to add up to a successful fantasy day. However, I don’t see this continuing, as Forte and the D/ST are the Bears’ only chances to get into the playoffs as a wild card. Martz cannot continue to put the game in Hanie’s hands, despite how well he may be able to manage. For the Raiders, Sebastian Janikowski kept his team in the game. When just passing midfield means you’re in scoring position, it’s easy to win games against good defenses. In my opinion, I don’t think this game affects my view of any Bears or Raiders. I’m starting all Raiders or Bears as usual and not taking any chances, despite this game.

Redskins – Seahawks
Blah blah blah, Roy Helu. Blah blah, Santana Moss. Mumble mumble, Marshawn Lynch. Ok, honestly, Lynch was pretty good. However, I find it hard to get excited about anyone wearing jerseys of either team. Start Lynch if you’ve got him, but try to forget about it until the score is final.

Tim Tebow has been a great fantasy QB every week except for that terrible Detroit game. His defense is keeping his opponents in check enough that his mediocre-at-best quarterback play has to be respected. If a team can get up big quickly, as the Lions did, then the Tebow magic, whatever that may be, can be taken out of the equation. Along with Tebow, I want whichever Denver running back is starting to be on my roster as well. Willis McGahee has been absolutely killing opposing defenses, and here’s a little secret: he’s no Arian Foster. For the Chargers, this is about the best fantasy day you can hope for. Everyone except Rivers played ok—not great, but they didn’t wow you with silly mistakes—and it was missed field goals that afforded the Tebow the chance to win. Unfortunately, it looks like that whole call of their pending Super Bowl victory seemed to be a little off…

P.S. Do you think the Eagles and Chargers will trade coaches? I think they just might.

What an amazing tumble the Eagles have taken. They just can’t catch a break. Their offensive line and defense has finally gelled, so of course their potent passing attack has now gone and taken a dirt nap, along with their playoff hopes. DeSean Jackson can’t keep his head on straight, Vick is out with broken ribs, Maclin hasn’t been consistently healthy all year long, and Vince Young can’t get that “Dream Team” comment off his back. LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick, if he’s healthy, are the only Eagles I’m starting and feeling good about. For the Pats, it was as simple as giving Tom Brady time. As soon as BJGE’s two red zone touchdowns had the Eagles reeling, Brady went to work and never slowed down. I feel like I’m in danger of becoming a broken record, but I’ll say it again: sit any New England pass catcher at your own risk.

In an actually very skillful defensive battle, the Ravens came out on top. For my money, there were two main factors that contributed to the win, and neither has to do with fantasy. The Ravens were at home, and they are much more accustomed to low-scoring defensive battles. I’ll take the Ravens in Baltimore over any team in the league if you’ll guarantee that both teams will score less than 21 points. Due to this double-sided shut down, neither team had much of a fantasy star. This is another game I’d dismiss in relation to fantasy opinion, due to the defensive prowess on display.

Similar to the 49ers–Ravens game, this was an intense defensive battle. Now, the Chiefs’ offense is less than unimpressive, but you still have to give it to the Steelers. And like the Ravens, the Steelers are far more experienced and skilled in a game where you have to rely on your defense. However, I think Antonio Brown has been having a coming out party the past five weeks and is the Miles Austin to Mike Wallace’s Dez Bryant. For the Chiefs, blech…though I am excited to see if Kyle Orton can bring Dwayne Bowe back from the dead.

$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
“Al, one of the things the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to do tonight is, they described it, is throw the kitchen sink at Tyler Palko. Well, much of that kitchen sink is in the form of Troy Polamalu and they can’t do it now!”

Well, despite CC’s imaginative use of the kitchen sink metaphor, it seems like the faucet and drain plug remaining on the field were enough to keep the Chiefs in check. Even if they don’t have all their appliances on the field next week against the Bengals, I’m starting the Steelers D, with gusto, in all formats.

Has the Superdome surpassed CenturyLink and Arrowhead as having the best home-field advantage around? It has certainly seemed like it this year, as the Saints are undefeated and scoring in droves when in New Orleans. The Saints will be watching the two-loss 49ers very closely now, as New Orleans seems to be in prime competition for the #2 seed and a first-round bye. Just like the Patriots and Packers, this is an all-hands-on-deck offense with a multitude of playmakers who can rack up points quickly. For the Giants, it was a sad display of defense, but you can’t hold them too accountable for the previously mentioned Saints at home. They could’ve played better, but the deck was stacked against them from the start. I’m starting all of my Giants next week against Green Bay, even Brandon Jacobs.

P.S. The Saints won the coin toss. Told you! I can’t wait to collect at the office this afternoon.

And that’s it! Next week is the final week of the regular season in most standard formats, so things should get interesting. I like Colts receivers in Foxborough, I’m starting Joe Flacco against the Browns in Cleveland, and I love Marshawn Lynch against the Eagles in Seattle. I’m staying away from any Bengals in Pittsburgh, all of the Vikings, and the other 52 men on the Denver Tebow.

Dave’s Take: Fantasy Football Tips, News & Notes – Week 12

By: — November 25, 2011 @ 1:28 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

1. With Tyler Palko clearly limited as a downfield passing threat, the Chiefs moved quickly to claim former Bear and Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton when Denver unexpectedly placed him on waivers this week. While Orton will never be considered to have one of the stronger arms in the league, the Chiefs offense was limited by Palko’s weak arm and opposing defenses were certain to catch on quickly to his limitations and start dropping their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, reducing the Chiefs options on short and intermediate throws. Look for Orton to move into the starting line up as early as Week 13 against the Bears with a strong likelihood that he enters this week’s game against the Steelers in mop up duty. Orton doesn’t rate as an option for fantasy purposes but his presence does bring a greater measure of comfort to Dwayne Bowe owners who were likely concerned about his ability to keep producing with Palko under center for the Chiefs.

2. With the Chiefs scooping up Orton, the Bears moved quickly to solidify the backup quarterback position behind Caleb Hanie, signing veteran retread Josh McCown. McCown will back up Hanie until Jay Cutler returns to the team, likely in the playoffs should Chicago qualify as a wildcard team. McCown is familiar with the team’s offense from his time together with offensive coordinator Mike Martz (as well as wide receiver Roy Williams) in Detroit. While Hanie has never been a Martz favorite and seems unlikely to return to the Bears in 2012, the odds of McCown stepping into Chicago’s starting lineup are slim. Hanie possesses solid athletic ability but is more of a freelancer and scrambler than Martz cares for. However, McCown is in Chicago simply to provide insurance behind Hanie given that Chicago’s third string quarterback is rookie 5th round pick Nathan Enderle, who is not ready to assume control of the team’s offense.

Absolutely delusional.

3. Let’s hand out some awards this week. The Absolutely Delusional Award goes to Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for his post-game comments yesterday after getting ejected for ramming the head of backup Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith into the turf three times before stomping on his arm with his foot. From Suh’s viewpoint, he was being held down, just tried to get up and stumbled. Worse yet, Suh admitted that he saw the replay, which clearly shows him stomping on Dietrich-Smith’s arm. It’s one thing to be involved in a dirty play but another to fail to admit guilt when you have witnessed overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Albert Haynesworth received a five game suspension for stomping on Andre Gurode so, while that incident was worse than this one, the Lions will almost certainly be without their best defensive player for at least one game and possibly more.

4. Next up is Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio who gets the Don’t Hold Me Accountable Award. With Jacksonville trailing Cleveland 14-10 and having the ball on the Browns one-yard line with three seconds remaining, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter called for a Blaine Gabbert pass to diminutive wide receiver Mike Thomas. With running back Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield it is easy to second guess Koetter’s call, but, as head coach, Del Rio could have ordered a Jones-Drew run had he wanted to. At his post game press conference, Del Rio threw Koetter under the bus stating that the offensive coordinator calls the plays and that reporters should speak to him. Here’s to guessing that Del Rio wouldn’t have the press go speak to Koetter had the play resulted in a Thomas touchdown. Here’s hoping that Jaguars management finally pulls the plug on Del Rio’s tenure in Jacksonville and they move on from a coach who has always been willing to lay blame but never accept responsibility.

5. Next up is the Eagles DeSean Jackson for the Me, Me, Me Award. Flipping the ball to the opposing teams defensive coordinator after a long completion is one thing but then doing the ole’ can’t stick to me thing is guaranteed to draw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Of course, it is not surprise that Jackson was guilty of this considering he dropped the ball in the field of play prior to entering the end zone as a rookie. Note to DeSean – if you want to get paid like you’re a superstar, then play like a superstar and ditch the punk portion of your personality.

6. Finally, the award for Plummeting Performance Right After Signing a Massive Contract Extension goes to Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. In fact, this one wasn’t even close. Since signing a six-year, $59-million extension, Fitzpatrick has failed to top 200 passing yards in two of three games while throwing for two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Pre-extension, the Bills were averaging 30.1 points per game. Post-extension, they are averaging 8.7 points per game. With running back Fred Jackson having been placed on injured reserve, the offensive line banged up and missing their best player in Eric Woods and numerous injury issues at wide receiver, keep Fitzpatrick out of your fantasy starting line up at all costs.

7. With just six games left on the schedule, it is safe to conclude that the Josh McDaniels era has not gotten off to the start that Rams management was hoping for. McDaniels offensive play calling has generated very little scoring in St. Louis where the Rams average a league low 12.0 points per game. With quarterback Sam Bradford having thrown just five touchdowns in eight games and clearly regressing after posting a solid rookie season, the whispers are growing in St. Louis that McDaniels will not be back next season and that owner Stan Kroenke will also look to replace head coach Steve Spagnolo and general manager Billy Devaney.

8. For years, fantasy owners had to be concerned about whether or not they would be able to use their Colt players during the fantasy playoffs. This year, there’s a chance that fantasy owners will have to be concerned about whether or not they can use their 49ers. Who saw that coming? With a 9-2 record and a commanding lead in the NFC West, San Francisco could clinch the division title as early as next week and, with a soft schedule, could also clinch a first round bye prior to Week 16. Monitor that situation as well as the situation in Green Bay where the undefeated Packers could very well rest several key fantasy contributors perhaps as early as Week 15.

9. The Titans used the eighth pick in the draft on quarterback Jake Locker and the expectation was that he would likely enter the starting line up sometime after the midpoint of the season once Tennessee was eliminated from playoff contention. The athletic rookie quarterback played well in his first extensive game action last week, subbing in for injured starter Matt Hasselbeck and nearly bringing the Titans to a come from behind victory over the Falcons. While Locker played well, there are no plans to insert him into the starting line up since Tennessee, at 5-5, sits just two games behind division leading Houston in the AFC South. In fact, with Hasselbeck playing well despite missing the team’s wide receiver in Kenny Britt for much of the season and running back Chris Johnson having the worst year of his career, there is a strong likelihood that he will enter 2012 as the team’s starting quarterback.

Bills Fred Jackson Placed on Injured Reserve

By: — @ 12:51 pm

With three consecutive losses and their season spiraling out of control, the Buffalo Bills situation went from bad to worse with running back Fred Jackson being placed on injured reserve with a fracture to his fibula bone in his right leg.

Jackson's injury sinks the Bills' ship.

Jackson’s injury is a major blow to a Buffalo squad that unexpectedly started the season with three straight wins and at one point seemed on its way to earning at least an AFC wildcard berth. Those playoff hopes now seem faint at best with Jackson out for the season and the team facing a must win game this week on the road against the New York Jets.

With 934 rushing yards and 442 yards receiving, Jackson was second in the league in total yards from scrimmage and enjoying the finest year of his career at age 30. His receiving yardage from this season surpassed a career-high of 371 set in 2009 and he was on pace to shatter his previous high of 1,062 rushing yards, also set in 2009.

Buffalo will turn to a combination of second year player C.J. Spiller, the ninth pick in the 2010 draft, rookie 5th round pick Johnny White and Tashard Choice, claimed off waivers yesterday from Washington, to try to ignite a Bills offense that has struggled over the past three weeks. The Bills managed just 26 total points in losses to the Jets, Cowboys and Dolphins.

Fantasy Impact

Looking at the Bills offense in general, the unit figures to struggle mightily with defenses no longer having to focus their attention on stopping Jackson in the running game or out of the backfield as a receiving threat. Simply put, none of their other options out of the backfield come close to matching Jackson’s skill level in either area.

Even with Jackson, the Bills offense has struggled in recent weeks due to the loss of Eric Woods, their best offensive lineman, and a number of injuries along the offensive line and at wide receiver. It also seems clear that the league’s defenses have caught on to head coach Chan Gailey’s spread offense that rarely takes shots down the field due to the team’s lack of speed at wide receiver.

Spiller is clearly the most intriguing option behind Jackson but he has struggled to meet the expectations of being the ninth pick in the 2010 draft, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry as a rookie and failing to provide big plays in the passing game. In addition, given his diminutive size, Spiller is ill equipped to handle 15-20 touches per game.

If a player’s use is the main gauge in determining what the coaching staff thinks of them, then Spiller’s average of 3.6 touches per game compared to Jackson’s 22 is revealing. However, general manager Buddy Nix and Gailey are responsible for selecting Spiller so they figure to give him every opportunity to hold on to the starting job down the stretch. Look for White or Choice to handle the goaline chores.

White hasn’t been used much since registering eight carries on opening day and wasn’t even a workhorse back in college at North Carolina, carrying the ball 130 times in his senior season while displaying decent receiving ability there, catching 24 balls. He might grab a few carries per game but unless he shows something quickly, look for Choice to quickly ascent to backup status behind Spiller.

As for Choice, he played well during his first two years in the league, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 8.8 yards per reception in limited action, but has slumped over the past two seasons.

If I’m rolling the dice on one of these guys, Choice comes up a tad short of Spiller.

As for the Bills other skill position players, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly takes as a hit as he loses his highly productive outlet option and wide receiver Steve Johnson, already struggling with just four receptions over his past two games, moves into WR3 territory. Both of these players will have trouble finding the end zone with Jackson out of the line up.

Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 12

By: — November 22, 2011 @ 2:40 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis


Moving Up

Caleb Hanie, Bears
With Jay Cutler expected to miss the remainder of the regular season with a broken thumb, Hanie steps into the starting line up for the Bears. While Hanie has done little in the regular season over the course of his four-year career (10 of 17 for 144 yards and a pick), it’s worth noting that he played well in relief of Cutler in last year’s NFC Championship game, completing 13 of 20 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions. It’s also worth noting that offensive coordinator Mike Martz saw fit to drop Hanie to third on the depth chart at one point behind veteran journeyman Todd Collins. Ouch. Well, Collins is gone so Martz will have to ride Hanie and he has the arm strength to make some plays in the passing game.

Moving Down

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Money can change a man and that certainly seems to be the case with Fitzpatrick. I guess the Harvard grad has spent more time over the last three weeks studying his bank account than the game plan. Since signing a six-year, $59-million contract extension, he has gone stone cold with 546 passing yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions, doing his best to make Bills management look like fools for handing him an overly generous extension. With running back Fred Jackson and leading wide receiver Steve Johnson banged up, starting wide receiver Donald Jones now out of the line up for an extended period and the league’s defenses having figured out the Bills spread offense, the next few games don’t look good for Fitzpatrick.

Tyler Palko, Chiefs
I gave him a Moving Up last week, more or less because he had an opportunity. After this week’s debacle on Monday night against the Patriots, I’m convinced he has virtually no chance of making the most of that opportunity. Not fast enough to make plays with his legs. An arm that can barely make a 15-yard throw on a rope. Only one running back or tight end capable of making something out of a short pass. With Palko starting, the Chiefs offense is doomed especially considering the Steelers, Bears and Jets are up next.

Sam Bradford, Rams
Unless Jason Smith (concussion) returns to the line up this week, the Rams are down to their second string right tackle (Adam Goldberg) and their third string left tackle (undrafted rookie free agent Kevin Hughes). That’s not good news since offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is stubbornly refusing to scale down the intermediate and deep routes that Bradford is getting killed on because the offensive line can’t hold up in pass protection. It also doesn’t help that Bradford has not proven adept at connecting on deep passes. With five touchdown passes in eight games, Bradford is suffering a sophomore slump that brings into doubt his viability in dynasty leagues.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Kevin Smith, Lions
Smith is going to be the leading pick up in all leagues this week, courtesy of a monster game this week against the Panthers. With Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams doing very little, Smith was signed off the street two weeks ago and given an opportunity against Carolina, gaining 140 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and also catching four passes for 61 yards and another touchdown. A 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft, Smith was once viewed as the Lions long term answer at running back before numerous injuries derailed his career. The latest timetable on the return of incumbent starter Jahvid Best is sometime prior to the end of the season. Consider Smith worthy of a start until Best reclaims the lead role.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
The Browns have already ruled out Peyton Hillis for Week 12 and head coach Pat Shumur plans to be cautious with Montario Hardesty. That means Ogbonnaya will once again be the featured back for Cleveland, this time against division rival Cincinnati. This week against the Jaguars, Ogbonnaya topped 100 total yards for the second consecutive game, gaining 115 yards and a score on the ground and catching two passes for 19 yards. Consider him a low end RB2 or solid flex play against a Bengals run defense that ranks 3rd in the league.

Grant could be in line for a spot start in Week 12.

Ryan Grant, Packers
With a Thursday game and a 12:30 ET start time, the odds of James Starks being ready after suffering knee and ankle sprains this week against the Bucs seem pretty low. That means he will miss a chance to shine against the Lions 27th ranked run defense. Enter Grant who gained 92 yards on 17 carries against the Bears in Week 3 in his only double-digit carry game of the season.

Toby Gerhart, Vikings
He ain’t sexy, he’s my AP handcuff. With Adrian Peterson unlikely to play this week against the Falcons due to a high ankle sprain, Gerhart will step into the starting line up for the Vikings. It was ugly for Gerhart this week with just 18 yards on seven carries but it’s not like AP did much in that game either (six for 26). In Gerhart’s only start in his 2010 rookie season, he played well against the Bears, gaining 77 yards on 16 carries and catching three balls for 18 yards. He’s not going to get you a win in Week 12 but he’s not likely to be an albatross either.

C.J. Spiller, Bills
With Fred Jackson day to day with a calf injury, Spiller figures to give up some of his pass receiving duties and line up more frequently in the backfield in Week 12, although Jackson is expected to play. Unfortunately, Spiller struggled at the goal line this week and will face a stiff challenge against the Jets in what amounts to a must win game for the Bills. He has been persona non grata in the run game for most of the season, with a season high five carries back in Week 1, no carries in two straight games (Weeks 6 and 8 ) and six carries over the last three weeks (for eight yards). So, no, don’t get too excited.

Moving Down

Ryan Mathews, Chargers
So much for Mathews becoming a consistent fantasy threat at running back in 2011. After topping 100 total yards in each of his first five games and scoring three touchdowns over that stretch, Mathews has failed to hit double-digit fantasy points in his last four games and failed to score in six straight games. He is coming off his worst rushing performance of the year, gaining just 37 yards on 13 carries against the Bears this week. While the groin injury he suffered in Week 10 doesn’t appear to be hindering him, the Bolts banged up offensive line is definitely an issue.

Jackie Battle, Chiefs
Battle was getting a healthy dose of touches for four straight games (averaging 17.3 per game) but that’s come to an end over the last two weeks and the running back situation in Kansas City now seems to be a three headed fantasy monster with Battle, Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones splitting time. That makes Battle a risky start in all formats, especially considering that the Chiefs have the toughest remaining schedule of any team in the league and will be using the noodle armed Tyler Palko at quarterback.

Wide Recievers

Moving Up

Jordy Nelson, Packers
Meet the Packers top fantasy wide receiver. To the back seat, Mr. Jennings. With his second consecutive two-touchdown performance, Nelson moved past Jennings in the fantasy points race and is now the third ranked fantasy wide receiver behind only Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker. Suffice it to say that nobody saw that coming. Nelson has been on a tear over the last five weeks, catching 22 of his 25 targets for 447 yards and six touchdowns. If only the Packers coaches would up that target total.

Victor Cruz, Giants
Meet the Giants top fantasy wide receiver. That’s right, folks, that honor goes to Victor Cruz. Who woulda thunk it? With defenses focused on shutting down Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham missing time and continuing to struggle with consistency, Cruz has been on fire for the Giants. This week, the former undrafted free agent beat Eagles high priced cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for a touchdown for the second consecutive game this season on his way to six receptions, 128 yards, and 18.8 fantasy points. Cruz has been Mr. Reliable over his last eight games, gaining at least 84 yards in every game save for a Week 6 clunker against the Bills where he caught two passes for 12 yards.

Jerome Simpson, Bengals
When Simpson is the Man, he looks good. When he’s playing second fiddle, he’s useless. Figure that one out. In two starts at the end of last season, with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens on the shelf, Simpson looked like a world beater, catching 18 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, this after catching three passes over the first 46 games of his career. With rookie A.J. Green taking over as the team’s lead wide receiver, Simpson was quiet for most of the first nine games of this season, save for a pair of 100-yard outings. With Green out this week, he went off for eight receptions for 152 yards, easily his best performance of the season. While Green may play this week, the knee injury he suffered in Week 9 may hold him back, making Simpson a reasonably decent option if you are desperate.

Torrey Smith, Ravens
Lee Evans was back in the line up and Smith basically gave that the ole so what? Evans had just one target to Smith’s seven and he made sure he made the most of them, catching six passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in a key Ravens win over the Bengals. Smith now has scores in two of his last three games and the target split this week seems to indicate that Smith owners have no worries about Evans eating into his opportunities.

Santana Moss, Redskins
He was likely dumped in most redraft leagues and he almost ready to return from the broken hand he suffered in Week 6, maybe even by Week 12. If you’re desperate and the waiver wire is empty, grab Moss a week early.

Moving Down

Steve Johnson, Bills
Johnson started the season on a tear for the Bills, proving that his breakout 2010 season of 82 receptions for 1,073 yards and ten touchdowns was no fluke. Or was it? With 24 receptions for 314 yards and three touchdowns over his first four games, Johnson appeared well on his way to establishing himself as a top 10 fantasy wide receiver. However, in the six games since then, he has just 22 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown and he is trending downward with two receptions in each of his last two games and no touchdowns in four straight contests. Defenses seem to have figured out the Bills spread offense and it is possible that the shoulder injury Johnson suffered in Week 10 is hindering his production.

Wes Welker, Patriots
Eight receptions for 68 yards in his last two games. Opposing defenses are focusing on shutting him down. Just saying, although it is worth noting that not many teams have the quality cornerbacks that the Jets and Chiefs possess.

Devin Hester, Bears
Hester was only worth owning in deeper leagues but with no targets in his last two games, he’s not worth owning in any league.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Let’s just say that Gronkowski has been on an absolute tear over the last four weeks, blowing past the Saints Jimmy Graham to become the top rated fantasy tight end thus far in 2011. With a pair of touchdowns this week against the Chiefs, Gronkowski has now scored five touchdowns over his last three games and is up to ten on the season. In addition, he has 404 receiving yards over his last four games and has become the team’s main receiving threat with opposing defenses focused on shutting down Wes Welker. Consider Gronkowski a solid bet to be the top rated tight end at season’s end.

Moving Down

Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
With Gronkowski on a roll, Hernandez has seen his playing time and opportunities reduced to the point where he’s a touchdown or bust option at tight end. That was fine and dandy when he was scoring a touchdown a game for three straight weeks but he hasn’t found the end zone for two straight weeks. Ignoring the touchdowns, let’s recap his last four games: two receptions for nine yards (four targets), four receptions for 35 yards (five tarets), four receptions for 41 yards (five targets), four receptions for 44 yards (seven targets).

Fred Davis, Redskins
When Santana Moss went down with an injury in Week 6, Davis’ fantasy outlook seemed to brighten since he was clearly the team’s last remaining playmaking threat in the passing game. That theory held up well when Davis has a pair of solid games in Weeks 7 and 8 but in the three games since then, he has tallied just 13 receptions for 119 yards. It looks like the Redskins poor quarterback play is dragging down a player who was coming into his own in his fourth season in the league.

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 11

By: — @ 10:38 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 11, the most bizarre week of football viewing in my life, was quite entertaining nonetheless. With the Saints, Steelers, and Texans all on bye, I suppose the mice came out to play. Backups went bananas, starters disappeared, bad teams won, good teams lost, et cetera. Let’s see if we can sort this mess out.


The Broncos defense may be keeping it together for 55 minutes while their quarterback plays his position like a running back, but it is Tebow in the last few minutes that is stealing all the thunder. I wouldn’t say I’m a Tebow apologist, but I am a Tebow hopeful. I would love to see him succeed and I would love to see the Broncos win the division to cement his place with the team. Due to his extreme popularity and single-handed comeback ability, yours truly will refer to the Denver Broncos as the Denver Tebow from now on.

As for the Jets…Wow, how ‘bout them Jets! I’ll tell ya what, I’ll always take a quarterback with faulty playing mechanics and the right attitude over a quarterback with good coachables but who lacks those intangibles. I don’t mean to come down too hard on Sanchez, I think he’s a fine quarterback, but he just doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor that star quarterbacks have. If the Jets can get a running game going, however, they might not need a star quarterback. For that matter, the Tebow might not either.


If someone had asked me in Week 4 or 5, “Which passer will throw three touchdowns in Week 11, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Moore?” Needless to say, I would’ve picked Fitzpatrick. In fact, I was near certain that Andrew Luck would be a Dolphin this time next year. However, the Dolphins are looking like world-beaters, and the plucky Bills are regressing more and more with each passing week. I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting any Buffalo player, even Fred Jackson; though if you’ve got Jackson, I’m sure you have to start him.

For the Dolphins, how is Matt Moore slinging the way he is yet Brandon Marshall was outgained in yardage by five other Miami players? I’m going to desperately hope this was a fluke (Marshall did have two end zone targets) and that he will be back to form next week against the Cowboys in what should be a shootout, given the Dolphins’ recent success.


At least for one week, Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson became the future superstars they’ve been touted as by fans. Anquan Boldin’s stat line looked as it should, and Smith had his second great game on the season. Simpson is a talented receiver and should continue to produce for the Bengals, and he’ll also continue to contribute heavily to your fantasy team as long as A.J. Green is out.


Just to make sure some piece of the world remained sane, the Jags and the Browns both stank. It is my belief that any team that enters Cleveland Browns Stadium, and EverBank Field to a lesser degree, instantly degrades. If the Packers played the Browns in Cleveland, I’m sure they would score less than 30 points. As for fantasy, MJD was the only man on the field worth a weekly start. Marcedes Lewis showed up long enough to sucker some people into picking him up, but I’m certain that passing attack will disappear in Cincinnati next week.


DeMarco Murray proved that he will be the starting running back of the future, and Laurent Robinson continues to be a fantasy force this season. I’m playing all Dallas starters for the foreseeable future, and I’m not starting a single Redskin.

The new starter in Detroit.


I really liked Kevin Smith in his rookie season, and then injuries ruined his career, or so I had assumed. However, this performance will make Smith the Lions’ starter until he gets hurt or Jahvid Best comes back (good luck). How about Calvin Johnson’s zero touchdowns in a Brandon Marshall-esque performance? I’m not worried in the slightest, but I’m sure this added to the frustration of this week’s weirdness for many fantasy owners. For the Panthers, Cam Newton is going to be a great quarterback and Steve Smith will continue to produce as this year continues, so I wouldn’t change my opinion on either based on this game.

Twenty-nine points and I nearly won?!

This week yours truly had the worst fantasy week of his career: 29 points. In standard scoring, Eli Manning, Ryan Mathews, Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and Jake Ballard all did nothing for me. Funny thing about this week, though, I only lost by 20 points! Like I said at the beginning, while the cats are on bye, the mice…will…fly?


Let’s say this first, I’m not buying much of this Bucs offense, passing or rushing, until I see it in consecutive weeks. Now for the team with far more fantasy impact, Jordy Nelson has nearly doubled Greg Jennings’ output for the season. It is extremely hard for me to say that any receiver is much better than Jennings, even Calvin Johnson, but Nelson has made a strong case for himself. At this point, the only advice concerning Green Bay players is, sit them at your own risk. If you own a Packer who will take the field on game day, there is a favorable likelihood that he catches a touchdown.


Dear Adrian Peterson, please, please, please come back to us soon. We don’t need another injured RB! Whether or not Peterson plays next week, pick up Gerhart and start him against the Falcons. I would also do the same with Percy Harvin, as he may prove to be flex-worthy for the remainder of the year. It has taken the Vikings over half a season to get it together, but it is possible that this offense may be coming alive a little bit. For the Raiders, here are your starters: the starting running back and Sebastian Janikowski. Sea Bass is the man, and whichever running back is the starter is going to be lethal every week.

The Color Silver

The Raiders had a nifty 12 penalties for 117 yards this week. That is epic. To put it in comparison, Carson Palmer threw for only 164 yards and the rushing attack combined for 162. So, essentially, the penalties cancelled out nearly one half of their offense. Amazing! If this collection of players played for another team, they’d probably be winning their division by a landslide right now.


If you have Marshawn Lynch and can pull this off, I’d find Jahvid Best or Darren McFadden’s owner and try to unload Lynch in exchange. He’s scored a good amount of touchdowns this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his point total right now is very close to what his point total will be when the season wraps up. For the poor, sad, helpless Rams, you’ve got to just keep holding out hope. Bradford was brilliant in his rookie year, and I had high hopes for him in his second year behind center. Unfortunately, the skill positions are so mediocre on this team that there are simply too few options for him to be successful with. Similar to Lynch, Steven Jackson might find that his best days of this season are behind him, and he might be another player you should try to trade, if you can find a good deal.

The Color Silver, Part 2

The Seahawks, also in epic fashion, had 13 penalties for an even 100 yards. In a performance fit for a jester, Seattle tripped all over themselves for 60 minutes. It was as if they said, “Alright, Marshawn Lynch, we’ll see your semi-productive fantasy day and raise you a whole heap of silly mistakes!” Well done, Seahawks, well done.


Hey, remember that time when the Cardinals were excited about the prospect of John Skelton? No? Okay, how about the time when they paid up a whole bunch of money and picks for Kevin Kolb? You’d like to forget? I understand… Well how about that time Richard Bartel averaged eight yards per pass attempt and John Skelton threw three picks? Ah. Amnesia, I see.

You could argue whether it was Arizona’s quarterback play or the 49er defense that actually kept the Cards to just 11 first downs, but that wouldn’t be fair to the San Fran D. They have been rock solid this season and should be started every week from here on out. It has been a rough year for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, but, if they can recreate some of this magic come early December against the Rams (which, believe it or not, is actually harder said than done), they may yet be fantasy stars in the playoffs.


The Falcons deviated just slightly from their winningest game plan, which is running the ball with Michael Turner more times than they pass. Technically, Turner ran only 21 times to Ryan’s 22 passes, but it was enough to slay the sleepy Titans. For the Titans, it was business as usual. And by business as usual, I mean Chris Johnson not being worth a fantasy start and a random receiver raking in a lot of yards. This week it was Nate Washington, but I wouldn’t count on that type of production from him again this year.


Somehow, all of a sudden, the Bears are looking nasty on offense and defense. They’re in a scary position with Cutler possibly being out for the remainder of the regular season, though if they can hang in there for a wild card spot, they might have him back for the playoffs. I say put Hanie out there, let Forte run for 30-plus times every game, and let your defense do the rest. I wouldn’t start any Bear involved with their passing game.

For the Chargers, they were awfully proud of their 4-1 start and claimed they were bucking their trend of starting slow. It seems now that they are continuing to buck that trend by slowing down in the second half. The Chicago D is strong, possibly the best defense in the NFL of late, but this Chargers offense has the personnel to be the best in the league if they’d just play like it. That being said, I’m still starting any San Diego skill-position players against weaker defenses.


Hey, remember that time when DeSean Jackson went crazy and won the matchup with late-game heroics in the return game? Yeah that was awesome. Remember the first half of this season when Jeremy Maclin was playing like a dominant receiver? Yep. He sure was. However, in this game, it was Riley Cooper and Steve Smith scoring the touchdowns. And while Jackson did have 88 yards receiving, he didn’t have any more receptions than Brent Celek. In fact, while Vince Young is the starter, I’m not starting any Philly pass catcher not named Celek. You just can’t guess which receiver he’ll target at this point.

For the Giants, what a miserable and hideous performance, and that’s not just because they had a major hand in ruining my fantasy week. So far, in this rough stretch of their schedule, they’ve got only one win, and that was against an especially bad New England secondary. Look for the Giants to struggle again next week versus the Saints in a Superdome that is always electric on Monday Night. I’ll pass on all Giants next week.

$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says

On Julian Edelman’s playmaking in all three phases of the game:

“Where does Bill Bellichick find these guys?!”

This week, I was unable to hear the always delightful Chris Collinsworth, so Coach Gruden stepped in for him. I wonder how many players since the merger have a punt return for a touchdown, a tackle on a kick return, a pass target, and a defensive tackle all in the same game. Now that would be a hyper-specific stat for the ages.

Did Chris say something that deserved to be in this space? Let me know in the comments section!


Believe it or not, this 34-3 Patriots blowout was a 3-0 Kansas City lead in the waning minutes of the second quarter. In fashion with the rest of the week, Wes Welker was out-received by running back Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen was the New England running back with a touchdown by the game’s end. If the Patriots continue to roll, look for them to be the AFC’s fantasy version of the Packers. By that I mean, sit any Patriot at your own risk.

For the Chiefs, it was a promising first half. Palko made some nice throws and good decisions, and the Chiefs defensive line was fired up. Classically, the Chiefs came out in the second half and blew it because they’re not used to winning. We’ve seen this a few times this year out of a number of historically bad franchises that had a chance to hang in there or ice a game. The Redskins, the Bills, and the Lions have all been in that situation this year. Right now I wouldn’t touch any Chief with a ten-foot pole. Not even Dwayne Bowe. Not even if Dwayne Bowe had some Ollie Gates barbeque.

P.S. No wonder they’re the Patkowskis, Rob can fly! Well, it was more like falling with style.

And that’s it! An absolutely maddening Week 11 is in the books. Hopefully the world will revert to normal as three of the four likely division winners return to the field. Next week, look for the Saints to get up big against the Giants in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Yuck. I can’t believe it’s called that now.

Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 11

By: — November 15, 2011 @ 5:00 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis


Moving Up

Matt Leinart, Texans
With 46 consecutive starts, Matt Schaub had gone a long ways in establishing that he wasn’t the injury prone player many thought he was after a pair of 11 start seasons when he became the Texans QB beginning in 2007. Unfortunately, he suffered a lis franc injury that will likely end his 2011 season. Enter Leinart, who hasn’t thrown a pass since the 2009 season. At least with the Texans having a bye in Week 11, he will have an extra week to get ready for Houston’s Week 12 matchup against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, it is anybody’s guess as to how Leinart will perform. Considering he did little in Arizona with a pair of Pro Bowl quality receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, we should all keep our expectations in check. That being said, the Texans have a talented offense with a strong running game so Leinart does have a chance to surprise.

Tyler Palko, Chiefs
Speaking of keeping expectations in check, I present to you Tyler Palko. Who? Great question. Who knows. I don’t profess to. Why? Because Matt Cassel has, in the word of Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, a significant hand injury. Since teams keep these things pretty close to the vest, let’s assume Palko’s the man in K.C. for at least a couple of weeks. That gives him an opportunity. Now if only he were surrounded by some better talent. With no dynamic threat at running back and a lack of a pass receiving tight end, Palko shouldn’t be in your starting line up until he puts together a pair of decent games. If your options are Leinart or Palko, take Leinart.

John Skelton, Cardinals
Can you say spark? John Skelton’s record as a starter in 2011: 2-0. Kevin Kolb’s record as a starter in 2011: 1-6. And that win came in Week 1. So, let’s assume you are Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, what guy do you start? Production says Skelton. At $65-million over five years, contract says Kolb. Skelton was the top ranked fantasy passer on Sunday, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns. The two picks weren’t great but if you play in a league that doesn’t punish interceptions and you’re desperate for a bye week fill in, Skelton might be your man.

Vince Young, Eagles
With Michael Vick likely out with broken ribs, Young is likely in, given that he went in for a snap this week when Vick went down. Or maybe it will be Mike Kafka, who didn’t exactly play horribly earlier this season. As usual with Young, there are question marks such as whether he knows the offense. In his one snap this week, he had to be told to line up in the shotgun. The upside is there, there is talent on offense but Young seems like a scary proposition.

Moving Down

Michael Vick, Eagles
The Philadelphia Heat, errr Eagles, are officially in the tank and Vick’s outstanding 2010 season was a, errr, fluke? Maybe. He’s been completely average the past couple of weeks and has two broken ribs, DeSean Jackson might be ready to pull a diva act (continue pulling a diva act?), the team might be ready to tank it (has already tanked it?) and head coach Andy Reid is on the ropes in Philadelphia and may need six consecutive wins in order to land the Eagles in the playoffs and ensure his return in 2012. Note all the question marks? Vick’s just one of them.

Matthew Stafford, Lions
Note to Matt Stafford: thanks for letting us know after the game that you were playing with a broken ring finger. Note to self: don’t believe Matt Stafford when he tells you that his horrible inaccuracy had nothing to do with his broken ring finger. Note to self: don’t start Stafford until he puts together a solid game. Stafford put up 20.6 fantasy points this week but needed 63 passes to get there. In a game that was even remotely close, he would have been a fantasy dud this week. I’m worried about the finger and Stafford owners should consider their options.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Steven Jackson, Rams
I took a whole pile of slack for suggesting in my Dave’s Take column that the man known as Sjax had a solid schedule over the second half of the season. The naysayers seemed to think I was off my rocker and that Jackson was ready to reitre to his rocker. Sure enough, three straight 100-yard games later we have our answer. Sorry for gloating but sometimes I can’t help myself.

Lance Ball, Broncos
Bam, down goes McGahee. Bam, down goes, Moreno. Bam, in comes Lance Ball? That’s right and if that’s a surprise, the 30 carries for 96 yards he put up this week against the Chiefs will also come as a surprise. Do I sound stoked? Okay, I’m not that stoked. Although Moreno is out for the year with a torn ACL, McGahee is apparently set to practice today and the Broncos surely can’t run it 55 times and throw it just eight games in another game this season, can they? They play Thursday so McGahee may not be 100% by then. That’s good. What’s not good is that they face the Jets and I expect their defense to show the league just how prehistoric the Broncos offense really is. One more for the good: McGahee just can’t seem to stay healthy this season. Ball is a decent option in larger leagues and not a bad one if you’re in dire straits at running back.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
A week after looking like a lost puppy against the Texans (13 carries for 28 yards), Ogbonnaya was surprisingly solid this week against the Rams. He ran with some authority and made a couple of guys miss on his way to a 19 carry, 90-yard performance. He also chipped in a pair of catches for 19 yards to hit double-digit fantasy points. The Jaguars are on tap in Week 11 and if Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty are out yet again, Ogbonnaya rates as a low end RB2 or decent flex option.

Moving Down

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots
He’s not getting the ball and he’s not doing much with it when he does get it. The Law Firm last scored in Week 5 against the Jets but in the four games since then, he has managed just 149 yards on 41 carries. Can I get my retainer back? Okay, bad pun but I’ve been guilty of worse. At this point, BJGE isn’t a guy you want in your starting line up, no matter the matchup.

LeGarrette Blount, Bucs
The issue with Blount isn’t so much his performance. It’s the situation. The Bucs defensive line is in shambles, the offense isn’t clicking and Blount doesn’t see the field when they are playing from behind due to his poor receiving skills and pass blocking abilities. With the Bucs playing from behind against the Texans and unable to stop the Houston rushing attack, Blount had just ten carries for 34 yards this week. Next up are the Packers so expect more of the same.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Denarius Moore is the WR to own in the Raiders passing game.

Denarius Moore, Raiders
Let’s see. Darrius Heyward-Bey is in the doghouse and Jacoby Ford’s going to be on the inactive list while the tight end position is persona non grata in Oakland’s offensive scheme. Looks like Moore should be in line for some major targets in the Raiders Week 11 road game against the Vikings, who have some major issues at cornerback – just lost Antoine Winfield and got scorched on Monday night by the Packers. No, Carson Palmer is not Aaron Rodgers but he doesn’t need to be for Moore to have a big game. Look no further than last week’s five-reception, 123-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Chargers.

Antonio Brown, Steelers
Every so often you’re just plain wrong about something and thus far in 2011, I’ve been wrong about Brown. I figured Emmanuel Sanders was the anointed one to take over for Hines Ward. Wrong. I figured Brown’s targets would dry up. Wrong. I figured Brown wasn’t all that dynamic. Wrong. In fact, the only thing from preventing him from being a WR2 so far in 2011 is a lack of touchdowns. As it is, he is currently the 25th ranked fantasy wide receiver. Brown has been Ben Roethlisberger’s best friend over the past four weeks, catching 26 of his 41 targets for 364 yards and a touchdown. There’s nothing to suggest this should change going forward.

Vincent Brown, Chargers
With Malcom Floyd on the shelf with a hip injury, Brown looked solid on Thursday night against the Raiders, putting together his second strong performance in as many weeks. The rookie 3rd round pick caught five of nine targets for 97 yards and a touchdown and had another score reversed on replay. The previous week he caught four of six targets for 79 yards. With defenses focused on shutting down Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates and Floyd one of the most injury prone wide receivers in the league, Brown may emerge as a solid WR3 option over the next several weeks. With three of the Chargers next four games against opponents with pass defenses ranked 20th or lower, Brown is worth a look if Floyd remains out of the lineup.

Harry Douglas, Falcons
When Julio Jones went down this week, Douglas stepped up to have a career game against the Saints. The 2008 3rd round pick had career highs in targets, receptions and yards, finishing the game with eight receptions for 133 yards. The Falcons have been mum on the status of Jones’ hamstring injury but it certainly looks like he will miss Atlanta’s Week 11 home matchup against the Titans. If that’s the case, Douglas is worthy of a start.

Moving Down

Hines Ward, Steelers
Not only is Ward no longer starting in Pittsburgh, he’s not even seeing the field in three wide receiver sets, even though Emmanuel Sanders is hurt. Yeah, that’s right, he’s playing behind Jerricho Cotchery, the same Jerricho Cotchery who has six receptions for 83 yards and a score this season. Looks like the gig is up for Ward in Pittsburgh and the gig should be up for Ward’s inclusion on your fantasy roster, if it wasn’t already.

Roddy White, Falcons
For whatever reasons, the 2008-2010 magic is gone for White. This year, he’s been decidedly average, putting up just 8.3 fantasy points per game after averaging 11.7 over the previous three seasons. In fact, he’s on pace to finish 2011 with 1,001 yards and five touchdowns which would translate into his worst season since becoming a full time starter in 2007. Perhaps the knee and thigh injuries he’s experienced this season are holding him back more than he has let on. Regardless, he’s a far cry from his former self and nine games into the season, it’s safe to say he’s not the top three wide receiver most expected he would be.

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Two receptions for 17 yards last week and now catching passes from Tyler Palko. Let’s just say that Bowe is very unlikely to finish 2011 as a top ten wide receiver given the current state of Kansas City’s offense.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Ed Dickson, Ravens
Dickson started out the season in strong fashion, catching five passes for 59 yards and a score in a Week 1 win over Pittsburgh. With Todd Heap in Arizona and Lee Evans on the shelf beginning in Week 2, the hope was that Dickson would emerge as a solid receiving option behind wide receiver Anquan Bolden and that performance only help fuel that hope. Let’s just say that never materialized, with Dickson failing to find the end zone over the following seven games or top 51 yards receiving. This week against the Seahawks, he was a bigger part of the game plan, catching ten of 14 targets for 79 yards and a pair of scores. Move Dickson up to solid TE2 for the balance of the season.

Moving Down

Greg Olsen, Panthers
With a touchdown in every game from Week 3 to Week 5, Olsen was shaping up as an expectedly solid TE1 early in 2011. However, the wheels have come off since then with just one trip to the end zone over his past four games. In addition, some of the chemistry he had with rookie quarterback Cam Newton has gone by the wayside, with the two connecting on just 14 of their past 31 targets, hardly an inspiring completion percentage for a tight end.

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 10

By: — @ 10:39 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 10 was a week to remember, from teams winning despite only completing two passes, to the Cowboys posting their best winning margin in 31 years. But first, let’s get right into it with a game that had major playoff consequences.

As is nearly always the case with these two teams, the game went right down to the wire and was decided by a field goal. The Falcons are very physical, a style that usually matches up well against the Saints’ high-flying offense and is able to wear them down. However, these two teams have so much dislike for each other that it is always a competitive game. The Saints were even able to contain the bowling ball that is Michael Turner (and yes, 96 yards on 22 carries is containing him). Next week, look for the Falcons to vent their frustrations on the Titans in Atlanta and put up big fantasy points across the board. Also, look for the Saints to ride the high of that win into the bye week and then come out with coin-flip odds of being either inspired or overwhelmed when they face the New York Giants at home.

P.S. Speaking of coin flips, want to win a bar bet? I’d be willing to put serious money up that the Saints win every coin toss for the remainder of the regular season. They lost the opener to the Falcons to make it ten straight, then they lost it again in overtime. Eleven consecutive coin-flip losses is an anomaly that is simply unsustainable. I will be looking to cash in on the improbability of that streak continuing.

The Saints and Falcons both got points from receivers (Robert Meachem and Harry Douglas, respectively) who probably aren’t going to be valuable for the long haul. In the same way, I’m not expecting Jerricho Cotchery’s big points here to continue. Cotchery may have more worthwhile games in the future, but there are too many guys in front of him to make him an every-week start. A few weeks ago I stated that Cincinnati’s attitude and youth movement had righted their ship. And as I always say, I’ll take less-skilled guys on teams trending up before I take high-skill guys on teams in decline. If A.J. Green had stayed healthy, I’d be suggesting that Dalton may be a nice backup for Schaub, Roethlisberger, or Brees next week. Since Green is hurt, however, I can’t say that Dalton is startable in any game until Green returns.

The Bills are stumbling in the second half.

I had really been hoping that the Bills would compete in this division for the whole season. Fitzpatrick and company had been circling the wagons and manufacturing those dangerously popular comebacks all season long. Now we’re seeing that style of play rear its ugly head in a few bad losses in a row. Truly good teams get up and stay up. I’m not saying the first eight weeks of the season were a fluke, I’m just saying the Bills aren’t going to be the Independent Party of the AFC East like I’d been hoping for. You’ve got to play Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson if you have them, but you should temper your expectations. This team is wearing down for the stretch.

For the Cowboys, I’d start all your guys and then close your eyes and plug your ears. The appropriately named Romocoaster will likely go crazy and inflate all of those Dallas playmakers’ numbers…or he’ll cost you your week by blowing up the INT column.

P.S. Pick up Laurent Robinson. He’s not going anywhere even when Austin comes back. He was good in St. Louis and he’s been phenomenal in Dallas.

If I could properly illustrate it verbally, my analysis of this game would describe my scrambling for a trash can before I threw up. Lloyd and Jackson are great, high-talent guys on a terrible team, despite their having one of my favorite young quarterbacks in Sam Bradford. For the Browns, the DST is the only part of this team I would start this year. If Peyton Hillis comes back, I’m not starting him against any defense until I see him chalk up two touchdowns and a hundred yards in one game. This Cleveland team is very bad and very conservative and will not net you many fantasy points. I continue to hold that these Browns would be better off now and in the long run had they just drafted Julio Jones instead of using the “lions share” approach and taking chances on a lot of lower-ranked guys.

I am not a crazy Tebow fan. I hated him when he was the all-star quarterback of the Florida Gators. I am, however, a believer in his will to win. Here are the facts through the eyes of an NFL scout: Kyle Orton has far better measurables and veteran knowledge than Tebow. Here are the other facts: Since the Broncos drafted Tebow, they’ve gone 5-4 with him and 4-14 without him. They’re in position to share the lead in the AFC West if they can somehow stump the Jets this Thursday. I’m not saying that’s an easy task, but the Broncos haven’t been in any sort of contention since Jay Cutler was under center.

It definitely isn’t pretty, but I would say there aren’t many teams that could win if their quarterback completed only two passes, even against the hapless Chiefs. To put it another way, I bet Curtis Painter would look better in training camp than Tebow, and look how the Colts are doing. Plus, if Tebow can get Denver to eight or nine wins this year, I’m sure he’ll start to win over that locker room.

For the Chiefs, the sad tale of this downward spiral continues as Matt Cassel was lost for the season. They may go the rest of the season without another win in his absence, as they were absolutely slaughtered early on when his elbow was injured.

P.S. Pick up Lance Ball.

Jones-Drew 09 (YouTube it) was a stud once again, this time against a team that has sadly quit on their season. Peyton Manning must be so frustrated at those guys! Since the Dolphins inexplicably won another game and effectively dashed their own hopes of drafting the coveted Andrew Luck, it seems that the inexhaustible imagery for the next decade will be the Stanford quarterback and the horseshoe. As for fantasy advice, my only advice for Colts owners is to find someone else. I’d think long and hard about Jerome Simpson over Reggie Wayne the rest of the way, as unfortunate as that is.

I saw a certain author on the net call Chris Johnson CJ0K. Hilarious! I’m all for it. I think this particular game was a flash in the pan. The Titans have a fairly soft rushing schedule coming up, but I’m still not touching this mess. If Johnson can look impressive on the field and in the stat line, I might consider him an RB2. He’s a flex play otherwise. In the same light as Meachem, Douglas, and Cotchery, I think Damian Williams is too inconsistent to be trusted. For the Panthers, pretend this game didn’t happen. Newton and Smith will be back to their old selves next week against a Detroit defense that is burnable in the secondary and easy to run against between the tackles.

Mike Shanahan proved why players on his teams are ineligible for fantasy starts. I’m sure if he didn’t fear for his job, he would change starting quarterbacks and running backs every week, if not every series. I almost picked up Roy Helu this week, but conventional wisdom told me it was better to take a player with less upside than try to guess what is going on in the wacky world of Shanahan. For the Dolphins, I think Reggie Bush is legit. I don’t think he’ll get two touchdowns every game, but I do think this will be his most statistically impressive year yet. Maybe it’s the Pizza Hut.

In opposite fashion of Cam Newton, John Skelton put up crazy numbers in this game but is still underwhelming overall. I’m sure Skelton felt as if he had something to prove, fresh off his rare two-safeties-allowed performance last week. I believe this game would have garnered a lot more media attention had Kevin Kolb been able to give it a go, as the “versus his old team” bit always gets the crowd going. For the Eagles, they’re not close to mathematically eliminated, but I think their chances are pretty slim all the same. If the news regarding Michael Vick’s two broken ribs is accurate, however, Philly may be eliminated from contention sooner rather than later.

The Buccaneers, similar to the Eagles, are not mathematically removed from contention, but there is little hope of their making the playoffs. It’s been a bad year for their promising young franchise quarterback, but he has plenty of time to jump right back into the elite quarterback discussion next year. This year, however, Tampa Bay is a lost fantasy cause, a la the Browns and Rams. There may be some fantasy goodness yet to be squeezed, but looking elsewhere will probably yield higher rewards.

For the Texans, it’s time for another quarterback—whom most have no faith in—to step up. Matt Leinart will take the reins for the Texans the rest of the season, and I personally hope he does extremely well. Just as with Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, and Tim Tebow, I feel like we’re far too hard on Leinart and that he needs to be given a real chance to shine. I’m not saying he’ll be Kurt Warner, I’m just saying I’m probably picking him up in case he proves himself.

P.S. Andre Johnson will be back after the bye. The No. 1 RB and WR sure can make a good QB look great.

Most of the nation got their first look at the red hot San Francisco 49ers this weekend, and surely they were impressed. Even though Frank Gore didn’t really get it going on the ground, OSU alum Kendall Hunter did well enough to keep the Niners in for the win. Many, including yours truly, thought the Niners would be great last year under Singletary, but they proved to be miserable. Precious few had faith this year, yet San Francisco is likely to receive a first-week bye as they head into the playoffs. Let it be known, if the 49ers and Packers meet in the NFC Championship game, my money is on the super vindictive Aaron Rodgers throwing ten touchdowns just to stick it to the team that passed on him as the No. 1 overall pick.

For the Giants, I am all in. They are always overlooked in their division, and Eli Manning is the anti-Romo, in that his skill far surpasses his popularity. That isn’t to say the Romocoaster isn’t skilled, only that his fame exceeds his accomplishments. I’m starting Eli, I’m starting Hakeem, Mario, and Victor, and I’m starting whichever RB is first on the depth chart every Sunday from here on out.

Ravens – Seahawks
In an interesting turn of events, Ray Rice had a better passer rating in this game than Joe Flacco. Now, Rice only threw one pass for one yard but it was for a TD in a game where points were at a premium. Seattle is truly a tough place to play on the road and the Ravens have long been beatable when outside of Baltimore, so this isn’t a complete surprise. There is no shame in losing to the Seahawks at home. However, when you can only muster 17 points and 331 yards from scrimmage against them, there is no excuse. Start Rice every week and consider all else a matchup play as smart owners have been doing all season.

For the Seahawks, beware of anyone who is bad to mediocre for weeks then all of a sudden dominant. In a week full of flash-in-the-pan fantasy performances, I’m sure many will be picking up Sidney Rice and Marshawn Lynch this week. Here is my advice to you: don’t. Unless your waiver wire has been absolutely bled dry, there should be someone out there who can help your team more.

Bears – Lions
If yours truly had been asked during the preseason, “When the Bears and the Lions play, who will be the better quarterback?” I would’ve answered, “Matt Stafford if he’s healthy.” Cutler has made great strides this year and has really risen from the ashes of his infamy with a new public perception of courageousness and toughness. He didn’t put up any great stats and his completion percentage was below average but he also didn’t throw any picks and made sure his team didn’t blow the lead. If Cutler had been able to do that his whole career he’d be a heck of a lot better than hovering around .500.

For the Lions, don’t take this game to heart. Along with Cutler, the Bears D is really stepping up down the stretch. I’m still starting all of the regulars from this Lions team, but I’m probably also sitting some of the fringe starters like Titus Young and “Detroit RB” until further notice.

The Jets—and namely Mark Sanchez—gave the Patriots a gift on Sunday Night. This was, to me, a classic example of the Jets letting their emotions get the best of them. The Patriots are the Jabberwocky of Rex Ryan’s team, and the Jets are little more than a mosquito annoyingly nipping at the skin of the Patriots. The teams are equally talented and both are greatly coached, but the Patriots mean far too much to the Jets. As far as fantasy goes, I’m starting New England offensive stars if I’ve got them and I’m hanging onto Ochocinco for one week longer, as there was a little spark between him and Brady on Sunday night.

For the Jets, I’ve always felt that their offense is too conservative to be effective in fantasy. I think Holmes and Burress are both overrated in both ability and accomplishments, despite both having clutch grabs in Super Bowls of old. I’ve lost faith in Shonn Greene or Mark Sanchez ever becoming statistically dominant. If New York plays well against the Broncos on Thursday, I suggest selling high on any Jets you have.

$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On the Patriots lack of depth in the defensive secondary:

“Guess who made the tackle? Julian Edelman, the wide receiver, playing Troy Brown’s role now from days gone by. That’s how thin they are right now at corner, they don’t want to take any more chances with the corners they have left.”

If defensive players were clothing, the Patriots would be in their skivvies. If defensive players were food, the Patriots would be starving. If defensive players were money, the Patriots would be the national deficit. Ok, I’m sure you get the idea. They have no defense. They’re not just bad, they’re non-existent.

Carson Palmer, despite a couple more interceptions (he now has eight in three games), looked pretty good on Sunday. Personally, I don’t see Housh having a chance at staying on the field ahead of the tremendous athletes that the Raiders have behind him. It is my prediction that he will be relegated to a mentor role or be cut within the next few weeks, barring a crippling injury to an Oakland starter. For the Chargers, I am on a warpath trading for any Charger I can get on the cheap. Now that the bye is over and Rivers and V-Jax have both had their worst games of the season, it’s time for the Bolts to turn on.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of analysis here. As already established, not starting any Packer is done at your own risk; they’re as likely to score five touchdowns as most offenses are to score two. For the Vikings, they actually played far better than the final score showed. Christian Ponder is going to be a great sleeper quarterback next year with his running ability. As we’ve all seen with Tim Tebow, just a little bit of running ability adds up to big fantasy points. Ponder has Peterson behind him, so he won’t be the goal-line choice like Tebow, but his passing proficiency is far superior. Look for the NFC North to have four great quarterbacks next year.

P.S. Remember when all the great teams played in the AFC?

And that’s it! Week 10 is in the books. Next week, fantasy owners are going to have a rough time playing without their Saints, Steelers, and Texans. Look for Oakland, Buffalo, Miami, and Cincinnati players to be great bye-week fill-ins.

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