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Week 6 Moving Up, Moving Down

By: — October 20, 2009 @ 10:17 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Moving Up

  • Tom Brady, Patriots – After putting up just 2 really good fantasy outings in 5 games, Brady owners were waiting for the cork on the champagne to burst and it did this week. Brady put up 380 yards and 6 TD which was good for 43 fantasy points (4 points per pass TD). Granted, a lot of the yards came on blown coverages but Brady was accurate, something he hasn’t been on many throws this year.
  • Ray Rice, Ravens – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That’s what Willis McGahee owners should be saying. In their last two games (one close, the other coming from behind), McGahee had 2 and 7 touches for zero fantasy points. Rice had 21 and 20 touches for 49 fantasy points. Verdict: if the Ravens are playing a patsy, McGahee is worth starting. Otherwise, forget about it. Rice, on the other hand, can be used week in and week out.
  • Thomas Jones, Jets – 210 yards and a TD on the ground qualify you for moving up. However, after next week’s game against the Raiders, the schedule gets tougher and that might be the point where you try to move him.
  • DeAngelo Williams, Panthers – This one deserves a qualification because it came against the Bucs. Regardless, 150 rushing yards and 2 TD is a nice bounceback performance for Williams, who has struggled mightily to follow up his monster campaign from a year ago. Unfortunately, after this weeks game against the Bills, three of the Panthers next four games are against the Cardinals, Saints and Dolphins, the 1st, 5th and 3rd best run defenses in the league.
  • Brian Westbrook, Eagles – Westbrook proved he was back to health this week, totalling 151 total yards on 15 touches, a nice 10 yards per touch average. Sure, it came against the sadsack Raiders but they were respectable this Sunday and the bigger news is that it appears that Westbrook is now ready to resume the lead role in what figures to be a top 5 offense at season’s end.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – LT looked good this week against a stingy Broncos defense, putting up 100 total yards on 21 touches. He didn’t find the end zone but could have had quarterback Philip Rivers not missed him on a sideline pattern. Plus, head coach Norv Turner is likely reconsidering his decision to go with Darren Sproles on 3rd and goal from the 2 yard line. Considering Turner’s decision to go with Sproles on 4th down late in the Ravens game was also a failure, that was a particularly horrendous play call. Like I said earlier, fool me twice, shame on me.
  • Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – With Willie Parker’s toe apparently back to health, Mendenhall’s fantasy owners were keenly watching this week’s game against the Browns to see how the carries would be split between the 2 players. Mendenhall finished with 19 touches for 77 yards and a score while Parker played second fiddle with 8 touches for 35 yards. Consider Mendenhall the starter until further notice.
  • Wes Welker, Patriots – 18 catches for 236 yards and 3 TD over the past 2 weeks. Consider it confirmed that he is back to full health and must start status on your fantasy squad.
  • Sidney Rice, Vikings – It looks like Rice is developing into Brett Favre‘s go-to receiver in Minnesota. He has 363 yards and 2 TD on 18 receptions over the past 4 weeks, including 176 yards this week against the Ravens. However, he’s only averaging just over 6 targets a game so I would feel better about him if that number was a little higher.
  • Heath Miller, Steelers – Miller was a bit of a fantasy bust in 2008 with 514 receiving yards and 3 TD. He remained an afterthought after a couple of quiet games to start the season but has been on fire over the past three weeks with a TD every week (4 in total) and 204 receiving yards on 18 receptions. Consider him starter material until further notice.
  • Johnny Knox – Bears – A TD in 3 of his last 4 games. Quarterback Jay Cutler likes to spread it around but he’s looking Knox’s way when it counts the most.
  • Steve Breaston, Cardinals – Anquan Boldin may have a high ankle sprain that could keep him out for a few weeks and Breaston had 1,003 yards and 3 TD last year in a backup role. If Boldin is out or used as a decoy, Breaston will be solid bye week filler.
  • Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Look, he really is moving up but I’m warning you not to drink the Kool-Aid. With Fred Taylor out, Sammy Morris injured early this week against the Titans AND the Titans completely disinterested, Maroney went off for 123 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Those are the facts. Do with them what you may.
  • Jeff King, Panthers. A TD in 2 straight games. With defenses focusing their attention on Steve Smith, King is benefitting in close. Only 4 receptions for 38 yards in 2 games isn’t pretty but you could do worse if you need bye week filler at tight end.
  • Michael Crabtree, 49ers – He’s my last Moving Up and, yes, that has some significance. The bottom line is that the 49ers are moving him into the starting line-up ahead of Josh Morgan in his first game after missing all of the off-season due to injury and all of training camp because he was a holdout. Maybe that means he’s good. Then again, maybe it’s just another in a long line of horrendous personnel decisions by the 49ers. Either way, having Crabtree in the starting line-up this week is certainly an eye opening move by the team’s coaching staff.

Moving Down

  • Matt Hasselbeck, Julius Jones, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson and John Carlson, Seahawks – Well, if the offensive line can’t pass protect, you can’t expect much of a passing game, now can you? Ditto for the running game. Every one of these guys should be on your bench until the line gets healthy. Sometimes it’s that simple.
  • Matt Forte, Bears – I’ve been saying all along that this guy is an average talent and he’s proving me right. He put up a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry as a rookie and is down to 3.4 yards a carry this year. With a solid quarterback in town, the Bears are relying less on Forte. He’s on pace for 47 fewer touches and 89 fewer fantasy points than last season. Plus, the offensive line isn’t opening up holes like they did last season with left guard Frank Omiyale the leading culprit.
  • Greg Jennings, Packers – The Packers were expected to get him more involved after the bye but against a bad Lions defense, Jennings posted another ho-hum game with 6 receptions for 64 yards. In prior years, the TD gods shined brightly on him but it hasn’t happened this year with just one score in 5 games.
  • Steve Smith, Panthers – Smith has hit double digit fantasy points just once this year, has yet to find the end zone and finally lost his cool this week after his lone reception went for 4 yards, stating he was no longer an asset to his team. The problem is more likely that Jake Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad are no longer assets to the team and the running game has struggled so defenses can double team Smith with impunity.
  • Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – Other than a week 1 outing against the Bengals, Moreno had run the ball well and seemed to have secured the lead role in Denver due to Correll Buckhalter‘s shoulder injury. That is, until his stinker this week against a very suspect Chargers run defense. Looks like the 2 series to 1 series split will continue in Bronco land.
  • Willie Parker, Steelers – Read Mendenhall above. When a speed back who has never contributed much in the passing game quits contributing big plays, he heads to the bench and ultimately off the roster. It looks like Parker has this year and perhaps next before the Steelers move on without him.
  • Pierre Thomas, Saints – Remarkably, this was the first game this year where Thomas and Mike Bell were both healthy so it was an important one for fantasy purposes. And yes, that was Mike Bell you saw lunging into the end zone in this week’s game against the Giants. And yes, Reggie Bush and Heath Evans also had rushing touchdowns this week. It looks like Thomas is in line for more carries with Bell spelling him and getting the goal line work, which makes Thomas much less valuable.
  • Donnie Avery, Rams – This guy is looking like a junior version of Joey Galloway and Santana Moss. First he’s useless. Then it seems like he’s going to get going. Then he gets hurt. Good luck with this guy.
  • Mark Sanchez, Jets – You didn’t believe the hype, did you? I sure hope not.
  • Kerry Collins, Titans – The Titans are finished for 2009 and Vince Young is due a large roster bonus in the off-season. Unless the Titans are convinced Young is NOT the answer, he will move into the starting line-up, possibly after their Week 7 bye. By the way, Young has Titans owner Bud Adams in his corner.
  • Jason Campbell, Redskins – There is a new play caller in Washington this week and likely a new quarterback in the near future.
  • Derrick Ward, Bucs – Two touches this week and overall they are in decline (14, 10, 7, 6, 2). This offseason free agent signing is looking like a bust for the Bucs and his fantasy owners.

Not Sold Yet

  • Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants – More than anything, it seems like a fluke that Bradsaw is the Giants back getting all of the touchdowns. Plus, if they were going to move him into the lead role, wouldn’t they have done it by now? Seems like a sell high to me.
  • Torry Holt, Jaguars – 95 yards last week against the Seahawks was nice and 101 this week against the Rams was a bonus. However, neither team has a solid pass defense, Mike Sims-Walker didn’t play against the Seahawks and Holt was stoked to play his old team. Hopefully you benefited from the renaissance but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last.

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