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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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