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Week 11 Moving Up, Moving Down

By: — November 24, 2009 @ 11:16 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Moving Up

  • Rock Cartwright, Redskins – Two weeks ago, Ladell Betts was the pickup of the week. Well, Betts is finished with a knee injury and starter Clinton Portis doesn’t look ready to return from a concussion. Meanwhile, Cartwright had the best game of his eight-year career with 140 total yards on 20 touches against a solid Cowboys defense. Giddy up on this one.
  • Ricky Williams, Dolphins – Ricky was moving up last week but after his 138 total yards, three TD performance against the Panthers, he’s moving up again. Based on his schedule, Ricky is likely a top five back over the balance of the season.
  • Jason Snelling, Falcons – After Snelling’s 76 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, there’s no point in the Falcons hurrying Michael Turner back from injury. The 13 receiving yards on three receptions were a nice reminder that this guy can also catch the ball.
  • LeSean McCoy, Eagles – The Eagles showed a little commitment to the run this week for a change and McCoy turned his 20 carries into 99 yards and a score. There wasn’t anything in the passing game but that’s just nitpicking. Be forewarned, however, that you can’t expect the Eagles to run this much every week because that would be like taking the stripes off a zebra. [Editor’s note: “spots off a leopard”?]
  • Justin Forsett, Seahawks – Nine yards and eight carries is just pathetic but he got a touchdown and it was against the Vikings. Plus, he turned eight receptions into 80 yards and the schedule looks decent with the Rams, Texans and Bucs.
  • Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Holding on real tight here – the trust factor is creeping up there with Maroney. This week he put up 77 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Jets, giving him double digit fantasy points in four of the last five games and touchdowns in five straight games. Now watch him stink it up next week.
  • Greg Jennings, Packers – I spoke to Jennings yesterday and he told me that he and Donald Driver had changed jerseys for the first ten weeks of the season. Thanks for letting us know, Greg, now starting scoring touchdowns like you did in 2008 and 2009.
  • Fred Jackson, Bills – Freddie was looking nice early in the season but Marshawn Lynch‘s return from suspension killed his fantasy value. Well, Lynch has been putrid (3.1 yards per carry and one touchdown) and now he’s hurt, so hopefully the injury is the excuse the Bills need to increase Jackson’s workload.
  • Mario Manningham, Giants – This year’s prime example of it’s tough to put him in and it’s tough to leave him out. Sure enough, this week he lit up the Falcons for 126 yards on six catches. It looks like Eli Manning and Manningham are now on the same page and Hakeem Nicks may be hurt. Let’s see if Manningham keeps it going.
  • Terrell Owens, Bills – Just when you were ready to put him on the waiver wire, he explodes for 282 yards and a score over the last two weeks. You might say it’s a fluke, I might say that it took the Bills nine weeks to figure out how to use him and the 21 targets over the last two weeks are indicative of that.
  • Robert Meachem, Saints – He doesn’t get many targets so he doesn’t get many catches but somehow he’s managed to score four touchdowns in the last three games, including two this week against the Bucs. The next two weeks don’t look great (Patriots and Redskins) but weeks 14-16 feature the Falcons, Cowboys and Bucs once again. Not bad.
  • Kevin Boss, Giants – Four touchdowns in his last three games as well as a pair of games with 70 yards or more. The Giants are looking his way in the red zone and he’s rewarding them so I don’t see the formula changing in the coming weeks.
  • Brandon Gibson, Rams – Nothing special this week with 61 yards on five catches but it’s worth noting that he was targeted 17 times this week, bringing his two week total to 26. He also had a red zone look that didn’t work out due to poor timing with quarterback Marc Bulger. At some point, that will get corrected.
  • Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – The Lions are throwing the ball to the tight end a lot and Pettigrew has 22 targets over the last three weeks. He’s turned that into 15 catches for 165 yards and two scores. If they’d quit throwing to Will Heller and Casey Fitzsimmons (18 targets over the same period), Pettigrew might just bust out.
  • Jermichael Finley, Packers – In his first game back from injury, the Packers gave him 10 targets and he caught seven for 54 yards. If they were easing him back into action, things can only go up from here.
  • Khalil Bell, Bears – In his pro debut, Bell took his first carry for 72 yards and finished with 81 yards on four carries. That gave him the 3rd best rushing performance by a Bear this season. I’m not saying it means anything but it sounded too good to leave out.

Moving Down

  • Brandon Marshall, Broncos – He was a sell high last week based on concerns about Kyle Orton‘s ability to play on an injured ankle and Chris Simms ability to, well, play at all. Sure enough, Simms couldn’t play at all and Orton couldn’t play hurt. End result – 26 yards for Marshall.
  • Roy Williams, Cowboys – Man, I was good last week. Another sell high and sure enough Williams puts up a bunch of zeroes against the Redskins.
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – Okay, now I’m just bragging. Sell high last week and then 36 yards against the Vikes. I’m done – honest.
  • Matt Forte, Bears – I keep putting him here (okay, not last week), you keep putting him in your starting line-up. I’m getting bored and you’re getting mad.
  • Kyle Orton, Broncos – I didn’t think he could play well hurt and sure enough, he can’t.
  • Joe Flacco, Ravens – Averaging 10 fantasy points a game over the last three weeks and hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass over that time.
  • Josh Freeman, Bucs – Note to self at 1:30 – “That was a composed looking rookie throwing a touchdown pass to Michael Clayton. Check his stats for inclusion in Moving Up.” Note to self at 4:30 – “Don’t be so stupid next time.”
  • John Carlson, Seahawks – After averaging nine targets a game over the first three weeks, he’s down to just over five targets per game the last seven weeks including six over the past two weeks. This week he failed to catch a ball. With blocking challenged Justin Forsett at running back, the Seahawks are forced to use Carlson in a blocking role to help their woeful offensive line which means he’s no longer startable.
  • Michael Bush, Raiders – Bush had a nice game in Week 10 so the Raiders named him as their starter this week only to give him fewer touches than Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden. Good luck figuring out this mess.

Not Sold Yet

  • Matthew Stafford, Lions and Brady Quinn, Browns – Meet fantasy football’s top two performers this week. And just in case you were thinking otherwise, you’re dreaming if you think either guy is going to repeat their Week 11 performance.
  • Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns – See above – another 115 yard, touchdown performance is likely to happen only if the Browns get to face the Lions again, which they don’t. If you’re looking for something positive, he was worth starting in three of ten games this year. There, that’s as nice as I can be.
  • Eli Manning, Giants – Eli beat up on the Falcons secondary this week but really, he was supposed to, wasn’t he? He gets Denver in Week 12 which looks decent but it’s downright ugly after that with the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins and Panthers on tap. There isn’t much you can do about it at this point so my advice is to pray or drink heavily, or both.
  • Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – Kind of shaping up as a solid option only when facing soft defenses kind of guy. The 80 yards on the ground, 36 through the air and a receiving touchdown against the Chiefs were nice but any decent back should get that. He’s fine against the Raiders and Browns but I wouldn’t want to use him against the Ravens (twice) and Packers.
  • Kevin Smith, Lions – I told you last week to sell high on Smith based on his expected performance against the Browns. Sure enough, he blew up the Browns with 149 total yards and a score. Now watch Smith get blown up by the Packers (4th ranked run defense), Bengals (2nd), Ravens (5th), Cardinals (8th) and 49er (3rd) run defenses.
  • Mike Bell, Saints – Ah, the Saints backfield. Just when it’s trending towards Pierre Thomas, Bell puts up 75 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s a decent flex play but hopefully you’re not riding him as a RB2.

Week 11 Buy Low, Sell High

By: — November 19, 2009 @ 10:48 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Buy Low

  • Justin Forsett, Seahawks – Just the facts, baby. Julius Jones has bruised ribs and lungs that caused bleeding in his lungs. For the second year in a row, he’s proven he’s not the answer in Seattle. Forsett just put up 123 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and chipped in 26 yards on five receptions in the passing game. The eight targets he had were also nice. The Seahawks are going nowhere and likely want to see what they have in Forsett. Two questions – why is Jones quickly rushing back to the field and why do the Seahawks want him to? If his owner thinks Jones is coming back soon, get Forsett with a low ball offer. Talk up how they’re playing Minnesota this week so you’re not expecting much from Forsett, but willing to take a chance.
  • Ladell Betts, Redskins – Clinton Portis said there’s no point in him returning quickly from the concussion he suffered, which he described as a “major situation.” In his first start since 2006, Betts carried the rock 26 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. In the last two games, he has 213 total yards and two touchdowns. If his owner thinks Portis is coming back soon, get Betts with a lowball offer (if you think this is redundant now, keep reading).
  • LeSean McCoy, Eagles – Eagles starter Brian Westbrook has concussions in the last two games he has played which were three weeks apart. In addition, Eagles management has expressed their concern by stating that football is secondary for Westbrook for the time being. I’m not a doctor but if it took three weeks to recover from his first concussion, then it’s likely going to take at least that long for him to recover from his next concussion. The Eagles are fixated on throwing the ball so McCoy hasn’t been overly productive but (here we go) if his owner thinks Westbrook is coming back soon, get McCoy with a lowball offer (there, I’m done).
  • Chris Wells, Cardinals – You don’t have to be a pro scout to know that Wells is a more talented player than incumbent starter Tim Hightower. All you have to do is watch part of a Cardinals game to have that figured out. Fumbles, pass protection and receiving ability are what have held Wells back. However, over the next six weeks, the only team that will likely challenge the Cardinals is the Vikings in Week 13. So, that means plenty of leads which means plenty of runs which should mean plenty of Wells. It’s also nice that Wells is starting to get some carries in the red zone, previously the exclusive domain of Hightower. Be forewarned – the Rams are on tap this week so this is your last chance to get Wells.
  • Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, Packers – Jennings hasn’t broken out of his season long slump and is on pace to match a career low in receiving touchdowns while Driver’s nice little run has slowed down somewhat albeit not drastically. The Packers atrocious offensive line is cause for concern (can Aaron Rodgers last the season?) but the upcoming schedule features some low rated passing defenses (49ers, Lions, Seahawks) and a couple of defenses whose rankings are inflated due to facing bad passing teams (Ravens, Bears).
  • Jerricho Cotchery, Jets – Since he returned two games ago, Cotchery has turned 19 targets into nine receptions for 138 yards and a score. Braylon Edwards has 13 targets over the same stretch so that blows away the theory that Edwards’ presence would cut into Cotchery’s opportunities. If you buy into that (you should) and that Cotchery has performed well while knocking off the rust, then he is a good player to target for the fantasy playoffs. The next three games are ugly facing three top ten passing defenses, but after that it looks sweet.
  • Dustin Keller, Jets – As with Cotchery, the fantasy playoff schedule looks sweet and since Leon Washington was lost for the year, the Jets have rediscovered Keller in the passing game. Over his last two games, Keller has been targeted 22 times and turned that into 14 receptions for 134 yards and a score. For fantasy purposes, that’s top five tight end production for a guy who is likely lingering on his owner’s bench.

Sell High

  • Brandon Marshall, Broncos – Remarkably, Kyle Orton‘s presence in Denver hasn’t killed Marshall’s fantasy production. The question is – will a banged up Orton kill Marshall’s fantasy production? It says here that it will. Orton has played injured before (and kudos to him for doing so) but he has struggled when he has done so. And it’s worth noting that Chris Simms was awful in relief of Orton this week completing just 3 of 13 for 13 yards and a pick.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – Admittedly, LT looked good this week and, although he didn’t really show flashes of his old self, he certainly looked like a guy who could generate some yards on his own. It’s also true that the Chargers get the Chiefs and Browns in weeks 12 and 13. However, the down side is the fantasy playoffs where it’s the Cowboys, Bengals and an improving Titans run defense. Sell high if the offer is good.
  • Kevin Smith, Lions – Smith gets the lowly Browns this week but after that, he faces a brutal schedule that includes the Packers (4th ranked run defense), Bengals (2nd), Ravens (5th), Cardinals (8th) and 49ers (3rd).
  • Roy Williams, Cowboys – After a disappointing start to the season, Williams has come on over the last two games with 180 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Cowboys don’t get another decent matchup in the passing game until Week 15 against the Saints, who will likely be over their injury issues by then. I would be working overtime trying to move this guy.
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – What’s not to like? Houshmandzadeh is coming off a 165 yard performance. The upcoming schedule looks great, other than the Packers’ sixth ranked pass defense in Week 16. QB Matt Hasselbeck has topped 300 yards in each of the last two games. Well, here are two things to consider – he has generated almost half his fantasy points in two games and has only three double digit fantasy points games on the season. Boom or bust is fine for your WR3 but you need a little more consistency at the WR2 spot. If an owner in your league is viewing him as WR2 material, move him.

Week 10 Moving Up, Moving Down

By: — November 17, 2009 @ 10:23 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Before we get to this week’s column, I’m going to broach the subject of fantasy football etiquette. That’s right. Just like you shouldn’t chew with your mouth open, interrupt others when they are speaking and forget to flush the toilet when you’ve done number two, there is etiquette in fantasy football.

This week, there were a number of significant injuries at running back and when injuries happen at fantasy football’s key position, trade activity heats up. And with trading deadlines approaching in many leagues, there’s even more reason for big trades this week.

A pair of dynasty leagues that I’m in have seen a number of dubious moves this season so as the trade deadline in your league approaches, try to remember that other owners put their hard earned cash on the line to play in your league. If you’re out of contention, don’t give away your solid, or even decent players for 10 cents on the dollar. If you’re trading away a stud, you need at least two solid players you can have for next year in return and maybe a draft pick if your league has a rookie draft. If keepers are limited in your league, then you need one really good keeper.

Giving away solid players for marginal assets for next year (think Donnie Avery’s, Justin Forsett’s and low round draft picks) puts the money others have put up at risk all because you’ve helped load up a solid team and got back pretty much nothing in return for next year. Ask yourself these two questions – do you want to be that guy? and what if the shoe was on the other foot and you were P.O.’ed at that guy?

Don’t give away your backup quarterback, a solid handcuff and a stud IDP player for a 4th round pick. Have some consideration. Have some fantasy football etiquette. Your league will be better for it.

Moving Up

  • Jason Snelling, Falcons – Meet fantasy football’s Pickup of the Week, provided of course that Michael Turner misses a few games with the dreaded high ankle sprain. Of course, he might just have a normal ankle sprain which is far less serious. Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin missed only one game with a high ankle sprain and wasn’t at full health a couple of other games but the injury is of more concern to running backs. I expect Turner to miss at least a week and likely more and Snelling has looked very good with the limited opportunities he has received this season – 4.9 yards per carry, 9.4 yards per reception and two touchdowns on 51 touches. It also doesn’t hurt that the have found their running game over the last four weeks.
  • Chris Wells, Cardinals – Looks like Wells MAY finally have taken over the lead role in Arizona with his 85 yard, two touchdown performance this week against the Seahawks. The 32 receiving yards were just gravy. Wells is a punishing runner and his presence may be what’s required to force opposing defenses out of the cover two look that the Cardinals have been facing all season and which has reduced their ability to make big plays in the passing game. Wells hasn’t been used much this season and his fresh legs might yield big time production over the balance of the regular season.
  • Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston, Cardinals – I said two weeks ago that the Cards had a schedule that featured sad sack pass defenses the rest of the way. Since the Carolina debacle, they have scored eight touchdowns in two games. If Wells can jump start the running game, it will only add to the team’s production in the passing game.
  • Tom Brady, Patriots – Four straight 300 yards games and 1,395 passing yards to go along with 13 touchdown passes qualifies for moving up. Should have been here sooner. It says here that Brady will surpass Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning to be the top ranked fantasy quarterback by season’s end.
  • Steven Jackson, Rams – Three straight games with over 100-yards rushing and touchdowns in each of the last two games. Looks like Jackson is ready to fulfill his role as a top five fantasy back.
  • Ricky Williams, Dolphins – Williams was already a low end RB2 depending on the match up as well as a solid flex play but he moves into high end RB2 status with Ronnie Brown expected to miss at least a week with an ankle injury. Opportune timing given that there are some struggling run defenses ahead on the schedule. Grab this guy if you can. You will be rewarded.
  • Ladell Betts, Redskins – There was some concern early in the week that the Redskins would rotate Betts with Rock Cartwright because of Betts’ ankle sprain but the rotation didn’t materialize this week against the Broncos. Betts finished with 26 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown and Cartwright failed to find the end zone. Don’t expect the Redskins to run it 40 times a game like they did this week but Betts is looking like a decent option until Clinton Portis returns from the concussion he suffered last week.
  • Matt Forte, Chicago – His schedule is ugly but it looks like the Bears have been watching the Cardinals and learning a thing or two. Basically, if the offensive line can’t run block then let’s throw quick hitters to our receivers and screens to our backs and that’ll be the running game. Results – 120 yards through the air for Forte.
  • Lee Evans, Bills – Don’t look now but Mr. Inconsistency is putting up solid numbers every week with touchdowns in three of his last four games, including a two touchdown performance. Over the next six weeks, he faces four pass defenses ranked 25th or lower.
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – There are so many lessons that football can teach you. With T.J., it’s if you whine, you will receive. Or the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And so, it is that after whining for the football, Houshmandzadeh had an incredible 17 targets this week, six more than his previous high. Good for him that he turned them into nine receptions for 165 yards and bad for the Seahawks for teaching their players that if you whine, you will receive.
  • Roy Williams, Cowboys – I think I’ve had this guy Moving Down more times than there have been weeks in the season so I will begrudgingly put him as Moving Up based on his 180 yards and a touchdown over the last two games. I’m cringing as I write this. Next task – draft up Week 11’s column with Williams Moving Down.
  • Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Split the carries with Kolby Smith this week on a 2-1 ratio and turned his share of 18 into 103 yards and a touchdown. And in case you were thinking that might happen every week you might want to know that was the first rushing touchdown for the Chiefs in 2009.
  • Donnie Avery, Rams – It took until Week 10 but Avery finally delivered the break out performance that his owners were hoping would occur on a more regular basis. He put up 67 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions this week against a banged up Saints secondary. His upcoming schedule is favourable so he is a worth a look as a low end WR3 or for depth at wide receiver.
  • Justin Forsett, Seahawks – I told you last week that Julius Jones would be useful in Week 12 against the Rams and in Week 15 against the Bucs. Take out Jones and put in Forsett. At this point, the 3-5 Seahawks know what they have in Jones (not much) so they might as well find out what they have in Forsett (likely not much). For dynasty owners, no, I do not see either player entering next season as the starter in Seattle.
  • LeSean McCoy, Eagles – With Brian Westbrook back in the line-up, McCoy was relegated to backup status and seemed to be a mere afterthought, barely seeing the field until Westbrook went out with his second concussion of the year. Expect Westbrook to be out for a number of weeks and McCoy to assume the lead role in an Eagles offense that has looked explosive at times this season.
  • Jason Avant, Eagles – We keep hearing how much the Eagles coaches like Avant but with 15 catches in eight games, they weren’t backing up their words with action. That is, until this week when Avant turned nine targets into eight receptions for 156 yards. Sure, the Eagles were behind early and that helped but he performed well and it’s not like the Eagles are about to become a running team anytime soon.
  • Brandon Gibson, Rams – Who? Yeah, the guy the Rams got from the Eagles for linebacker Will Witherspoon, that’s who. Sorry, my kids like Dr. Seuss. Anyway, the Eagles, who know a thing or two about acquiring talented players including wide receivers (at least lately), were impressed enough by Gibson, their 6th round pick this year, that they opened the season with seven wide receivers on the roster. This week he went off for seven receptions and 93 yards. With Keenan Burton suffering what looked to be a serious knee injury, Gibson figures to move into the starting line up next week.
  • Larry Johnson, Free Agent – As I said above, there were significant injuries this week at running back and L.J. is the best available veteran on the free agent market. It says here that somebody bites early this week. [This just in – it looks like it’s going to be the Bengals.]
  • Michael Bush, Raiders – With Darren McFadden out with an injury and the team going nowhere, they give the ball to Justin Fargas and reduce the number of touches Bush gets. Then when McFadden returns, Bush gets 14 carries which he turns into 119 yards including a long run where he got hauled down at the one yard line. Fargas had ten carries and McFadden only four. God love ’em, these are the Raiders.

Moving Down

  • Bill Belichick, Patriots – Bill, was the hood pulled down too far over your head last night? Please tell me you really thought it was 3rd down. Otherwise, you’re seriously losing it. Really. And just a quick reminder that a one yard pass when you need two yards – not exactly a good idea.
  • Michael Turner, Falcons – Potential high ankle sprain means big time worries for Turner owners. MRI results should be released today or Tuesday so act accordingly. It might be time to start working the phones for a replacement.
  • Ronnie Brown, Dolphins – He has an ankle injury, he was on crutches after the game and the Dolphins play on Thursday in Carolina. He’s almost certainly out this week and potentially for several games if he has a high ankle sprain.
  • Brian Westbrook, Eagles – In his first game since suffering a concussion three weeks ago, Westbrook left this week’s game against the Chargers with another concussion. At this point, Westbrook’s season is in serious jeopardy with an outside chance that his career may be over.
  • Cedric Benson, Bengals – Benson has had a remarkable comeback season and has provided his fantasy owners with incredible value until he went out this week against the Steelers with 22 yards rushing due to a hip injury. He’s expected to be fine for next week but this type of injury could reduce his effectiveness or knock him out again during a game.
  • Julius Jones, Seahawks – Man, where do you start. Reports indicate that he has a broken rib and that the injury caused him to have bleeding in the lungs. If that’s me, I’m not rushing back to the football field.
  • Kyle Orton, Broncos – Injured ankles for quarterbacks sound bad but at least Orton injured his left ankle which is not the one us pushes off on. He sounded optimistic about next week so it does not appear that he will miss significant time.
  • Darren McFadden, Raiders – That’s right – Kyle Orton’s ankle injury is more significant than the lack of use of this year’s big breakout candidate at running back. Four carries for 11 yards in his return. Not what his fantasy owners were hoping for. McFadden is essentially not startable until he puts together a couple of decent games which seems unlikely. See ya.
  • Santana Moss, Redskins – No touchdowns in his last five games, a stretch in which he is averaging 43 yards a game. Yuck.
  • Correll Buckhalter, Broncos – Going back to the teaching theme, here is what Josh McDaniels taught Buckhalter this week – if you fumble, I will bench you. And so a decent flex play turned into two carries for 11 yards.
  • Alex Smith, 49ers – The Alex Smith feel good story lasted exactly three weeks. Then he went out and had 118 yards passing and no touchdowns against a struggling (I’m being kind here) Bears pass defense.
  • Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, Colts – I haven’t looked at their stats and I don’t need to. Both of these guys played so bad last night that the Colts coaches have no choice but to reduce their targets going forward. After those performances, I’m willing to throw out a waiver claim for Anthony Gonzalez if need be.
  • Torry Holt, Jaguars – With eight catches for 78 yards over the last three weeks, Holt’s 33 year old legs are looking pretty tired. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t found the end zone yet this year. Off to Dumpsville for him.

Not Sold Yet

  • Reggie Bush, Saints – Nice stat line for Bush this week with a touchdown on the ground and in the air as well as 98 total yards. However, here is what is more relevant – he hasn’t topped 100 total yards yet this season, this was only his second double digit fantasy points game of the season and it came against the lowly Rams. His success is based solely on touchdowns (six in nine games) and guys who average 9.3 touches and 53 yards a game don’t generally get touchdowns in two out of every three games.
  • Marc Bulger, Rams – The Rams quarterback had a nice game this week with 298 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against a solid Saints defense. Sounds good. But a closer look reveals maybe it’s not so good after all. The Saints defense is solid but they were without starters Sedrick Ellis, Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper this week and also lost Tracy Porter during the game. Despite missing three starters in the secondary, the Saints chose to play eight men in the box on every play (including 3rd and 15). Plus, Bulger has topped 200 yards in only two of eight games this year and is averaging 0.625 touchdown passes per game.
  • Nate Burleson, Seahawks – Sure, he’s overrated and I probably should dump him into Moving Down but I feel generous and nice today. So, I’m trying to look past the fact that he hasn’t scored in four games and failed to get a reception in five targets this week. The question is – should you?

Week 9 Moving Up, Moving Down

By: — November 10, 2009 @ 6:04 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Moving Up

  • DeAngelo Williams, Panthers – It’s time to emphasize that Williams and the Panthers running game has now officially found the groove that it had in 2008. Over the last 4 weeks, Williams has put up an incredible 93 fantasy points, courtesy of 548 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. It’s time to sell the farm for Williams who is crushing whatever defense he faces.
  • Joseph Addai, Colts – Of all of the running backs out there that you might be able to get in a trade, Addai makes the most sense. He’s no longer regarded as a top 5 fantasy back and rookie 1st round pick Donald Brown will be returning from injury shortly so there are arguments to be made that his prospects are headed downward. However, he’s playing in the most explosive offense in the league and has managed to hit double digit fantasy points in 7 of 8 weeks. Bit of a hunch here but he’s a guy I would take a chance on.
  • Ladell Betts, Redskins – It’s been 3 years since Betts had his big season back in 2006 (1,154 yards on the ground to go with 445 receiving yards) but he played well in the lead role this week with Clinton Portis out with a concussion, notching 70 yards and a TD on 15 carries to go along with a reception that went for 23 yards. The Redskins offense has been junk and the schedule isn’t favourable but if you’re desperate, Betts is the guy. He is definitely this week’s top pick on the waiver wire.
  • LeSean McCoy, Eagles – Didn’t do a whole lot with 19 touches 3 weeks ago (67 yards) but over the last 2 weeks, McCoy has 31 touches for 207 total yards and a touchdown. And, as you’ll read below, Brian Westbrook is beginning to look like the date who keeps promising to show but never does.
  • Steve Breaston, Cardinals – With Anquan Boldin out, Breaston put up 66 yards and a touchdown on 5 catches and had a nifty 25 yard run as a nice little bonus. In 6 of 7 games this year, he’s put up 57 or more yards and is a low-end WR2 when Boldin is out, which happens often.
  • Anquan Boldin, Cardinals – He wasn’t happy to sit out this week but his fantasy owners (including yours truly) were likely elated since it seemed like he was destined to be a 5 for 50 guy the rest of the way without some rehab time. Chalk this one up to short term pain for long term gain.
  • Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Hard to get too excited about a guy who has been such a tease but Maroney does have double digit fantasy points in his last 3 games, as well as a touchdown in each game. Note to self – next week, pretend you didn’t actually just write that.
  • Chris Chambers, Chiefs – Here’s a great example of one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Released by the Chargers, Chambers was quickly snapped up by the Chiefs and responded in a big way against the Jags with 3 receptions for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. It’s not going to happen every week but the bottom line is that the Chiefs are desperate for some speed at wide receiver and Chambers brings that to the table. Plus, he’s clearly more talented than any other receiver they have, excluding Dwayne Bowe of course.
  • Laveranues Coles, Bengals – Coles was more or less useless for the first 5 weeks of the season but over the past 3 games, he’s had 12 receptions for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. With Chris Henry out for the year, his targets will go up so the 9 opportunities he had this week seem promising.

Moving Down

  • Clinton Portis, Redskins – Got his bell rung this week against the Falcons and, with his head aching for 2 days after the game, it seems like he will be out for at least 2 weeks and maybe more. Basically, contingency plans are in order if you don’t have Ladell Betts as his handcuff. With fantasy trade deadlines approaching, move quickly.
  • Kevin Smith, Lions – 15 touches for 76 yards this week, which isn’t horrible but he hasn’t scored in 4 weeks. Plus, Maurice Morris siphoned off 6 touches this week which doesn’t seem like a lot but part of the allure with Smith was that he was The Guy in Detroit and now he’s just mostly The Guy playing on a horrible teams that doesn’t score much.
  • Brian Westbrook, Eagles – First it was the ankle, then it was a concussion and now it’s the ankle again. At this point, hoping that you’re going to ride Westbrook to glory seems as far fetched as the tooth fairy.
  • Joe Flacco, Ravens – The good news is that the schedule has some favourable matchups down the stretch. The bad news is that it’s still not a great schedule and the Ravens passing game has gone south for 3 of the past 4 weeks with Flacco unable to get over 200 yards passing 3 times. Basically, he just doesn’t seem like a guy you want to use on a weekly basis.
  • Larry Johnson, formerly of the Chiefs – Interestingly, the legendary Johnson has exactly two 1,000 yards seasons to his credit, back in 2005 and 2006. Granted, they were great seasons but the Chiefs gave up on him this week after two and a half years of mediocrity which included a paltry 2.7 yards per carry this year and no touchdowns. There are teams that need help at running back (Redskins, Patriots, Texans, Eagles) so I wouldn’t dump him yet but if you have to, go ahead.
  • Ryan Moats, Texans – Like I told you last week, there’s a reason he’s been in the league several years and not earned any playing time. This week, he proved it. Sure, he got a touchdown but he also fumbled and managed to eke out 38 yards on 16 carries. His touchdown came on a pass. Oh yeah, the Texans are chewing on whether they should sign a washed up Larry Johnson.
  • Steve Slaton and Chris Brown, Texans – See above and no, I don’t care that Slaton also scored a touchdown.
  • Matt Ryan, Falcons – Don’t look now but the annointed one has become a bit of a turnover machine over the last 5 weeks with 9 interceptions and a fumble. The 8 touchdown passes over the same stretch are reasonably decent but the 3 sub-200 yard passing games not so much.
  • Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – I wasn’t excited with his prospects last week and he had to split carries with the immortal Kolby Smith so I’m definitely not excited by him this week.
  • Chris Henry, Bengals – Well, he’s out for the year so he’s definitely in the Moving Down category. Not much else to say on that.
  • Michael Vick, Eagles (Bills?) – Tony Dungy seems to think the Bills are the front runners to land Vick and if it’s true, unload him from your dynasty squad now. Buffalo is the place quarterbacks go to die. We’ll call it the Doug Flutie Curse. Since Flutie, they’ve gone through Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, Kelly Holcombe and Trent Edwards. If the Bills think a quarterback is good, well, he’s not.

Not Sold Yet

  • Jay Cutler, Bears – Cutler had a nice fantasy game this week with 369 passing yards and 3 touchdown passes. However, it’s not every week that the Bears are going to be behind by 21 points early in the contest. Presumably, head coach Lovie Smith is a smart enough guy to realize that the Bears need better balance in the offensive game plan and that will ultimately lead to fewer turnovers from Cutler, who has lost the ball 13 times this year (12 picks and a fumble).
  • Greg Olsen, Bears – Five receptions for 71 yards and 3 touchdowns is nice and likely won a lot of matchups this week for fantasy teams but see above. Say it with me now, “Sell High.”
  • Matt Cassel, Chiefs – Had his 2nd most productive week of the season with 262 yards and 2 touchdowns plus the Chiefs added Chambers at wide receiver. So, I guess what I’m saying is that the passing attack might be coming around finally but the rest of the schedule isn’t great so I’m not too excited.
  • Julius Jones, Seahawks – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t like Jones but, I will begrudgingly admit that he may be useful at home against teams that are struggling on defense. So, consider him for Week 12 against the Rams and Week 15 against the Bucs. Other than that, you are playing with fire and you will be burned. Who knew I had such a maternal instinct?

Week 9 Buy Low, Sell High

By: — November 5, 2009 @ 10:30 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Buy Low

  • Ronnie Brown, Dolphins – It’s not exactly a Buy Low but Brown is coming off his worst game of the season with 27 yards on 11 carries against the Jets. Plus, he struggled the previous week against the Saints and his 2-week totals are 27 carries for 75 yards and a TD. It’s possible that you can sell his owner that he’s struggling because teams are clamping down on the Dolphins running game due to their struggles to pass the ball with 2nd-year quarterback Chad Henne and a cast of below average wide receivers. If it works, then Brown is definitely worth targeting because, even with is recent struggles, he’s on pace for over 1,300 total yards and 16 touchdowns.
  • Steve Slaton, Texans – Slaton has apparently fumbled away the starting gig in Houston with Ryan Moats exploding on the scene in Buffalo this past week to the tune of 151 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has said that his backfield will be a 3-headed monster consisting of Moats, Slaton and Chris Brown. Here’s the history – Moats has never achieved extended success in the NFL since being drafted in 2005 and Brown has proven this year that he’s not even a serviceable backup. If you can trade some depth for Slaton and afford to sit him until he returns to the starting line-up, you should do it.
  • Kevin Walter, Texans – The Texans lost tight end Owen Daniels to injury and running back Steve Slaton was benched. The team’s backup tight ends are Joel Dreesen and a pair of rookies (James Casey and Anthony Hill), one of whom just underwent surgery. The Texans options are force-feeding Dreesen or increasing the role of one of their receivers and Walter’s size makes him the best option to replace what Daniels was bringing to the table.
  • Jason Witten, Cowboys – Witten was ranked as a top 3 fantasy tight end heading into the season with many pundits ranking him at number 1. However, he’s on pace to finish the season with 795 receiving yards and just 2 touchdowns which nets you 91 fantasy points on the season in standard leagues or 5.7 points per game. Frankly speaking, I’m not sold that his numbers are going to go up much but if you can get him cheap, he’s worth taking a flyer on.

Sell High

  • Matt Forte, Bears – Forte enjoyed a solid game this week against the pathetic Browns but he’s not likely to carry your squad to victory many times over the balance of the season. Other than the Rams and Packers, there are no cream puffs on the schedule. Other opponents include the Cardinals, 49ers, Eagles, Vikings (twice) and Baltimore. Plus the Lions in week 17 but that’s not going to help you much. If a team in your league thinks he’s turned the corner, then move him now.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – The Forte situation holds true for LT as well. Nice fantasy performance this week against the Chiefs but 56 yards on 18 carries is really more bad news than good so don’t be fooled by the 2 rushing TD. The only patsies on the run schedule coming up are the Browns and the Chiefs so it might be time to move LT if the package gets you a RB1 in return.
  • Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Sell high on a guy who just got the starting gig and is averaging a nifty 5.0 yards a carry? Yeah, that’s right. The yards per carry is misleading because it has come mostly on passing downs and often when defenses are playing soft because the Chiefs are playing from behind. Plus, the Chiefs have run the ball 203 times this year without scoring a rushing touchdown and the fact there’s no guarantee Charles will retain the job when Larry Johnson returns from injury. It says here that if somebody in your league thinks Charles will succeed where LJ failed as a RB2, then you should be selling even if the return is only a quality WR3.
  • Matt Schaub, Texans – Schaub was a top 3 quarterback heading into Week 8 against the Bills but dropped a bit due to his inability to get a passing touchdown against a solid Bills secondary. Going forward, it’s a little disconcerting that he’s lost Daniels, the top ranked fantasy tight end this season, and a solid receiving running back in Slaton due to him being benched. In addition, stud wideout Andre Johnson has just 8 catches for 125 yards and no touchdowns over the last 2 games, perhaps signalling that he is suffering lingering effects from a chest injury. Hard to sell a top rated quarterback but if the return is there, it’s worth the risk.

Week 8 Moving Up, Moving Down

By: — November 2, 2009 @ 5:24 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Moving Up

  • Ryan Moats, Texans – After Steve Slaton’s 7th fumble (5 lost), head coach Gary Kubiak put Moats in and nailed Slaton to the bench. Twenty-three carries, 126 yards and 3 TD later, Slaton might be nailed to the bench in a more permanent manner. Hey, if it’s not broke, why fix it? Just for good measure, Moats also contributed 2 catches for 25 yards. Basically, barring compelling signals to the contrary, Slaton can no longer be trusted. If Moats is named the starter, he’s this week’s top waiver wire pick-up.
  • Miles Austin, Cowboys – 482 yards and 5 scores in his last 3 games. Roy Williams for the season – 249 yards and 2 TD. Just in case you were holding on to the illusion that Williams might be the guy in Dallas.
  • St. Louis Rams – Hey, they won a game. None of their offensive players are actually moving up but let’s give them some kudos for notching a win. Oh yeah, Steven Jackson found the end zone, which was nice to see.
  • Chris Johnson, Titans – Heading into week 8, Johnson was beginning to resemble Jackson for his inability to find the end zone with both of his TD coming in Week 2 against the Texans. This week he found the end zone to go long with 228 yards on 24 carries. It’s also reassuring that Vince Young played well in his 1st game as the team’s starter.
  • Devin Hester, Bears – It looks like Hester has now arrived as a true number one receiver in Chicago. He’s had over 80 yards for three consecutive weeks (83, 101, 81) during which he has 21 catches and a TD. He’s basically a Buy Now candidate because he’s going to be untouchable very soon.
  • Matt Forte, Bears – The good news is that Forte ran well against the Browns with 90 yards and 2 TD on the ground to go along with 31 receiving yards. The bad news is that he doesn’t get another soft run defense until he faces the Rams’ 27th ranked run defense in week 14. Other than that, it’s top 12 or better through week 16. Ouch.
  • Braylon Edwards, Jets – This week he had 4 receptions for 74 yards and a TD against the Dolphins. In 4 games since arriving in New York, Edwards has had 2 solid fantasy performances and 2 duds. In those games, quarterback Mark Sanchez has completed less than 50% of his passes. If you believe that Sanchez can’t possibly be that bad going forward, then Edwards is looking like a decent option the rest of the way. And no, I’m not saying Sanchez will break out the rest of the way.
  • Jeremy Maclin, Eagles – In his last four games he has 16 receptions for 248 yards and 3 TD. One of those games was a stinker against the Raiders. The 25 targets in those games isn’t awe-inspiring (6.25 a game) but DeSean Jackson only had 24 targets during the same span. Basically, Maclin’s under the radar somewhat right now but is clearly emerging in Philadelphia.
  • Michael Crabtree, 49ers – 81 yards on 6 catches against the league’s 6th ranked pass defense. After just 2 games, it’s pretty apparent that this guy’s trajectory is pointing straight up.
  • Percy Harvin, Vikings – He has 17 targets over the last 2 weeks and turned that into 126 yards and a score. Is it a coincidence that he’s getting used more or is it because he’s figuring out what’s going on? I know which way I’m leaning.
  • Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks – Hasselbeck had a nice game against the Cowboys this week throwing for 249 yards with 2 TD and no picks. I just picked him up in a dynasty league where my squad is failing (full disclosure – received Hasselbeck, Glen Coffee, Jerricho Cotchery and a 2nd for Kurt Warner and Terrell Suggs) and wanted Hasselbeck as a decent option based on his mostly favourable schedule the rest of the way. Up next are the Lions, Cardinals, Vikings, Rams, 49ers, Texans and Bucs.
  • Dustin Keller, Jets – I told a friend last week (well, the guy who runs this website actually) [Editor’s note: Thanks.] that he should hold off on trading for a replacement for Chris Cooley because his backup, Keller, might start getting more attention with Leon Washington out for the year and Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene poor receivers out of the backfield. Sure enough, Keller had his best game of the season with 8 receptions for 76 yards and a TD. The 13 targets were also nice to see. Occasionally when a player goes down, a player at a different position ends up benefitting and this was a prime example of that. Which brings us to…
  • Steve Smith, Panthers – He got his 1st TD of the season this week against the Cardinals so he’s Moving Up. And that’s all I’m saying about that.
  • Kevin Walter, Texans – Tight end Owen Daniels is out for the year and Slaton might be nailed to the bench. The team’s backup tight ends are Joel Dreesen and rookie James Casey. So, the Texans can give Daniels’ looks to those guys or increase Walter’s role. Walter is having a horrible season but it’s mostly because of his lack of use. He’s missed 2 games and is averaging less than 5 targets a game in the team’s other 6 games. Look for that to change starting this week against the Colts.
  • Kevin Boss, Giants – Boss seemed like an up and coming player heading into the season, based on his 6 TD in 2008. However, he was an afterthought since Week 1 before putting up 70 yards and a TD this week against the Eagles. Maybe the Giants have figured out this guy is an underutilized option in the passing game, particularly in the red zone.
  • Jerome Harrison, Browns – The Browns are horrible and Jamal Lewis announced that he was going to retire at the end of the season. Presumably even the folks who run the Browns can figure out that it’s time to see if Harrison is the answer in 2010. Presumably.
  • Malcom Floyd, Chargers – The Chargers finally benched Chris Chambers this week and inserted Floyd into the starting line-up. He put up 2 catches for 64 yards on just 4 targets, nothing to get too excited about. However, the Chargers have a great passing attack, Floyd has solid deep speed as evidenced by his average yards per reception of 22.8 and at 6’5″, he is a great red zone target. Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates are also great red zone targets but Floyd isn’t a bad guy to take a flier on, particularly in deep leagues and dynasty leagues.
  • Vince Young, Titans – Hey, 13 fantasy points from your quarterback isn’t anything to get excited about. But really, you were expecting him to fall flat on his face, weren’t you? I was so this performance is enough to get him in this column. Reports out of Tennessee indicated the players were not happy that Young was in for an ineffective Kerry Collins. Presumably Young leading them to their 1st W may change some of that negativity.
  • Justin Fargas, Raiders – He has 267 total yards and a TD over the last 3 games. That is enough to make him a decent flex play. It also doesn’t hurt that there are rumblings out of Oakland that Darren McFadden‘s recovery is not going well.
  • Deion Branch, Seahawks – Caught his 1st TD pass of the season this week. That means the Seahawks have paid him $5-million per TD so far in 2009. Just saying.

Moving Down

  • Steve Slaton, Texans – His fantasy performance this year was far superior to his actual performance on the field which makes him a great example of why you need to dig a little deeper than just reading about a player’s fantasy stats every week. Simply put, why exactly would Kubiak put Slaton back in there? If you know, please clue me in on this one.
  • Matt Schaub, Texans – Let’s see – he just lost Owen Daniels, the top rated fantasy tight end, to a season ending injury and his pass catching running back (Slaton) was benched. He’s been so good that it’s hard to put him here but that’s just too much to lose all at once. Sometimes, it’s that’s simple.
  • Kurt Warner, Cardinals – Hey, any time you throw 5 interceptions, you are moving down. It’s a rule. The upcoming schedule is extremely favourable, although Anquan Boldin’s inability to stay healthy is becoming of greater concern.
  • Jason Witten, Cowboys – Another ho-hum performance for Witten. Let’s recap his fantasy points this year – 7, 9, 7, 3, 4, 5, 3. I’m getting sick of waiting on this guy.
  • Anquan Boldin, Cardinals – Well, he can’t stay healthy and he hasn’t been all that impressive when he has been healthy. He’s now on pace to finish with 923 yards and 2 TD. It’s time to start questioning whether Boldin’s going to get it going in 2009 and it seems like the odds are going down with each passing week.
  • Eli Manning, Giants – It seems like Manning is starting his late season swoon early this year. Over the last 3 weeks, he’s completed 50% of his passes for 643 yards, 3 TD and 6 interceptions. The Giants are floundering and it seems like defenses have figured out how to game plan for them.
  • All of your Denver Broncos – Kyle Orton, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Marshall et al were pretty much useless fantasy wise this week against the Ravens and the Broncos face the Steelers next week. With the Steelers D looking better than the Ravens thus far, there’s little reason to think the Broncos skill position players will fare any better.
  • Jamal Lewis, Browns – Read Jerome Harrison above and for icing on the cake, he’s had 1 double digit fantasy point game this season and hasn’t found the end zone.
  • Mario Manningham, Giants – Just the facts, baby. He missed this week due to a shoulder injury. He was struggling with drops. Head coach Tom Coughlin said this about his absence, “Separation, sore shoulder, whatever.” Doesn’t sound to me like they missed him (see Kevin Boss above for further proof).
  • Willis McGahee, Ravens – No savings graces here as this week’s game against the Broncos pretty much sounds the death knell for McGahee’s fantasy usefulness. With the Ravens blowing out the Broncos, McGahee still only had 3 touches for 3 yards. Unless you need him as a handcuff to Ray Rice, you can jettison him to the waiver wire.

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