No one likes to see a top quarterback injured, especially not the consensus No. 1 fantasy quarterback. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in that position this week. Continue reading
Week 2 wasn’t quite as exciting for pickup hunting as Week 1, but, with two weeks down, we have a little more clarity on how valuable these free agents could be for your team this season. Looking back on last week’s list, Javorius “Buck” Allen appears to be the top of the class. His role in Baltimore has expanded with the injury to Danny Woodhead. With Terrance West suffering through a soft tissue injury, the Ravens could lean on him even more in Week 3.
We hit on a few long-term investments at wide receiver last week. With news breaking and injuries healing up, it’s time to talk about stashing running backs this week, if you can get to them first on the wire. Continue reading
It’s a good week to get some bench running backs as we had three major injuries to Rashad Jennings, Montee Ball, and Donald Brown, which opened the door for some promising options.
Many of my teams are hurting so I’ll be setting plenty of waivers. Here’s where I’m putting my chips this week. Continue reading
So Tom Brady is terrible, and Jake Locker is good? Is this really happening?
This Week 1 had quite a few surprises, including phenom performances from Julius Thomas and a not-quite-done-yet Marshawn Lynch. I was pretty pleased with Michael Floyd, even if he didn’t get me a win last night playing against his own QB, Carson Palmer. Continue reading
If you were hurting for a tight end, Week 7 is the week to snatch one up off the waiver wire. Don’t sleep on these options.
Tight End Party
FRED DAVIS (Redskins)
With Chris Cooley shattering his finger (ouch) on Sunday, Davis stands to see a lot more passes his way in this Redskins’ offense. Assuming John Beck takes over, he may have less of a tendency to throw a cannon downfield like Rex Grossman was prone to do.
JAKE BALLARD (Giants)
The Giants found themselves a tight end this season. After two solid weeks of top-10 production, Ballard is a must-add for any tight end needy team. He’s on bye this week, which might make him more costly to grab in a popular bye week, but I believe he’ll be worth the sacrifice.
LANCE KENDRICKS (Rams)
An early-season sleeper of mine, Kendricks finally flipped the switch this week and had a nice game with 70+ yards. We, of course, would like to see more out of him before we buy-in completely again, but he’ll cost you a lot more to add once he goes off for a big game. We’ll have to see how Brandon Lloyd changes the passing game in St. Louis and how much of a drop it takes while A.J. Feeley fills in for Sam Bradford (high ankle sprain).
Rest of the Field
DEMARCO MURRAY (Cowboys)
Felix Jones will miss a few weeks with a high ankle sprain, and in his absence, Murray got the majority of carries. He’ll likely share time with Tashard Choice, but he faces a very nice schedule, starting with the Rams in Week 7.
CARSON PALMER (Bengals…RAIDERS!)
It looks like the Raiders have managed to pry Palmer out of the Bengals’ hands. While he’s faded as a starter in recent years, Palmer’s a big upgrade over Kyle Boller and possibly even an upgrade over Jason Campbell. We can’t be sure how he’ll do until we see him hit the field, but with Oakland’s receiving talents (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, and Denarius Moore) are hitting their stride and a running game to take the pressure off him, Palmer could have immediate QB2 value. I’d stash him for now until we know the trade is final and until we see him in real game action.
GREG LITTLE (Browns)
He started for the first time on Sunday, and Colt McCoy targeted him plenty. While the Browns aren’t the most potent of offenses, it never hurts to own a team’s No. 1 guy.
JEROME SIMPSON (Bengals)
A.J. Green’s getting a lot of attention in Cincinnati, but Simpson’s had a couple of nice weeks as well. If you’re looking for a WR3 with upside, take a chance on Simpson.
ARRELIOUS BENN (Bucs)
Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams has been a disappointment thus far, as has the entire Bucs’ passing game. But Benn’s shown promise with the few touches he’s received. In the last two weeks, he scored big against the Saints and had another near touchdown negated by penalty. He had a quiet first few weeks as he was returning from his injury last season, but now his run after the catch ability looks 100 percent. If you’re looking for a WR3 on the rise, Benn’s looking like a nice grab. Just note that he’s a boom-bust guy. You’ll have to play matchups with him.
MARK CLAYTON / DANARIO ALEXANDER (Rams)
Brandon Lloyd’s arrival in St. Louis makes Mark Clayton’s return from the PUP a tad less exciting. It also demotes Danario Alexander to a specialty role again. Still, both receivers should find a way to have an impact, and the Rams schedule gets easier down the stretch. Clayton was Sam Bradford’s favorite target before his injury last season, but unfortunately, it’ll be A.J. Feeley under center for several weeks until Bradford’s back on the field. We can’t be sure who Feeley will favor, but it’s likely we see Lloyd and Clayton as the starters in St. Louis after a few weeks. Alexander, for now, is back to being a stash in redraft until we know how much he’ll see the field with these two back, but he’s still got a huge ceiling when he’s healthy.
DEMARYIUS THOMAS (Broncos)
With Lloyd moving on to the Rams, Thomas should become a starter alongside Eric Decker. He’s returning from a broken finger he suffered in the preseason. Thomas has had a hard time staying on the field, but his measurables make him a worthy gamble. I wouldn’t drop Eric Decker for him, but I’d gladly stash him and hope for the best if all other waiver wire options were taken.
The NFL makes no sense this year. Call it parity. Call it “le suck.” Call it whatever you want. Several of the teams we thought would be fantasy powerhouses are not (Cowboys, Chargers, Patriots) while many of the teams we wrote off as bad bets for fantasy are putting up good numbers (Browns, Rams, Bills). In the words of Chris Berman, I guess “that’s why the play the games.”
Oh, and it was brutal being a Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns fan this weekend.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: 165 yards, 3 TDs, 2 catches for 31 yards, 1 TD vs. Broncos
I guess they replaced McFadden’s hamstring with a bionic leg because he showed no indications of any hamstring injury on Sunday. Michael Bush owners, myself included, have to be disappointed that McFadden chose this year to breakout of his early career slump when Bush was slotted as the starter for Week 1. But McFadden’s clearly come into his elite form as the No. 1 back here.
On the plus side, Bush did an equal helping of carries, but McFadden did more with his early in the game and got the first three rushing scores. McFadden will continue to be a must start while Bush could remain a reliable RB2 with upside if McFadden is injured again this year.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans: 7 catches for 225 yards, 3 TDs vs. Eagles
So I guess there’s a trend when a player is forced to sit out at least one quarter. Just like Arian Foster, Britt didn’t need four quarters to blow us all away. Clearly, he’s the receiver to own in Tennessee and has finally earned his spot among the top of the fantasy wide receiver class. I don’t know that he’ll have another three-score performance this season, but he could definitely put up WR2 numbers the rest of the way.
As an added bonus, he seems to perform regardless of his quarterback. Both Vince Young and Kerry Collins can make him valuable. Just be on the lookout for any team punishment that comes down on Britt for the bar fight he was involved in last week (and for which he sat out that first quarter on Sunday).
Roddy White, WR, Falcons: 11 catches for 201 yards, 2 TDs vs. Bengals
White was due for a breakout performance, and he had it this week — probably just because I traded him away in a package that got improved my quarterback situation with…Romo. Bah, I lose again.
White will continue to be one of the top receivers in fantasy, even if he doesn’t have another 20+ point week this year.
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: 412 yards, 3 TDs vs. Falcons
The Bengals got in a hole early against the Falcons, which forced them to set Palmer lose. While he put up plenty of yards and touchdowns, they still didn’t win.
Since the Bengals only rely on Palmer when they get down by double digits, it’s hard to predict when he’ll have these big games. So it’s probably best if you look elsewhere for your fantasy quarterbacking.
Lee Evans, WR, Bills: 6 catches for 105 yards, 3 TDs vs. Ravens
Old-unfaithful just had a season’s worth of stats in one game. Lee Evans? Really? The Bills somehow pulled a fast one of the Ravens this week, and even though they let Baltimore come roaring right back, the Bills showed they have some fantasy weight to throw around. I guess we should take a chance starting Evans. His fantasy points have been on the rise ever since Fitzpatrick took over as the starting quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills: 373 yards, 4 TDs vs. Ravens
Speaking of Fitzpatrick, his stat line wasn’t too shabby either. He lost the game, but pride…he’s got plenty of that to go around.
Popular opinion seems to think he can’t keep this up. But people said the same thing about Orton earlier in the year, and Orton’s still chugging along despite a disappointing day against the Raiders.
Fitzpatrick could be this year’s Tyler Thigpen, a second-half stud.
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: 121 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches for 23 yards vs. Bengals
Turner benefited from Atlanta’s big lead this week against the Bengals, but he’s still not quite the fantasy back you drafted him to be. Feel free to sell if you get a good price after this two score performance.
David Gettis, WR, Panthers: 8 catches for 125 yards, 2 TDs vs. 49ers
Gettis emerged in Week 7 as the best Panthers’ receiver not named Steve Smith. He’ll be on a lot of waiver wires this week, but his big game can largely be attributed to Steve Smith’s time spent on the sidelines dealing with an injury.
Since this was Matt Moore’s first game back as the Carolina starter, you should try to grab Gettis just in case this chemistry develops into true fantasy value.
Cleveland Browns D/ST: 17 points allowed, 4 INTs, 2 TDs (pick 6s) vs. Saints
Well, when you get four picks from Drew Brees, and you return two of them for touchdowns, even the Browns can make it happen.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: 131 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches for 41 yards vs. Packers
In case you didn’t realize he was good…
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: 4 catches for 54 yards, 2 TDs, 93-yard punt return TD vs. Giants
In a horrible Cowboys performance, Dez Bryant was the lone bright spot. If Kitna continues to look his way, Bryant will make his owners proud in the second half of the season. He should be on a roster in every league, even without Romo around.
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. You should pause for a moment and think of all the players you have to thank for getting you where your fantasy team is today.
Thank you, Terrell Owens, for going off the week we finally gave up on starting you. Thanks so much for being worthless just long enough for others to drop you.
Thank you, JaMarcus Russell, for making the Raiders so terrible on offense that Darren McFadden couldn’t even be a fantasy stud this season. That draft pick would have been better spent on Julius Jones, and fantasy owners’ greatest memory of him this season will be the week he sat out and let Justin Forsett do it all.
I guess there are the good stories. I’m incredibly thankful for Ray Rice. He’s held it down for my fantasy team through the thick of the season, and he came at a bargain rate in the draft.
I also have to thank Miles Austin, who came off the waiver wire just in time to become a fantasy gold mine for me. He’s my WR3. Do you realize how great it feels to have Miles Austin as a lottery play every week at WR3? I hope you do.
But enough about my thanks. It’s your turn to give thanks. Maybe we should all send our fantasy players real thank you cards this Christmas, and not those cut-out-of-magazine, stalker cards we normally send to threaten them after they kill our chances at a playoff run, the real kind. The kind of cards that show we care.
No, you’re right. They wouldn’t be into that. Besides, cutting letters out of magazines is way more fun.
Now before you go off to bicker at relatives you may only see once this year and poke at mystery casseroles, it’s time to set your lineups.
Hot Hands Starts of the Week
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs vs. Chargers: I’ll admit that Jamaal Charles was not my favorite person when he was a Longhorn. He had some ball-security issues, and he never seemed to be able to get those yards when it counts. Lucky for him, he went to a team where the yards never really count, and he’s doing well. Woohoo for him.
This week, he faces the San Diego Chargers, who still, if you remember correctly, don’t really have strength at nose tackle after losing their best to injury at the beginning of the season. Considering that Charles is basically half the Chiefs offense alongside Chris Chambers now that Dwayne Bowe is a no-Bowe due to illegal Slimfast, I could see him doing just enough to put the points on the board that you need this week. Pencil him in as a starter if you need him to make plays.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts vs. Texans: I’ve been benching Addai occasionally for a better matchup in recent weeks, and every time I do it, he makes me pay. It’s like he hates me. Maybe he didn’t get my Christmas card last year?
No worries. Against the Texans, he’s back on my list. I like his chances at getting at least one, if not two, touchdowns since the Colts seem ready and able to get him in the red zone each week.
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals vs. Browns: Here’s to hoping that Matthew Stafford’s five-touchdown performance against the Browns reminds Carson Palmer what it’s like to be young with two good knees again. Palmer’s got that surgical repaired one now, but I’m pretty sure it’s good enough to do some damage against the Browns.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers vs. Jags: He finally scored his first NFL touchdown last week against Green Bay. This week brings the Jaguars secondary to San Francisco, and I could see Crabtree doubling up quickly. The Jaguars have allowed the second most fantasy points to wide receivers, behind only the Titans, who have stepped their game up sine Cortland Finnegan’s return.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers vs. Lions: Mostly as a brief reminder that you should start every player wearing green in this one. The Lions let the Browns offense go nuts on them last week, and the Packers are looking for another offensive blowout to build some confidence for a playoff push. The Packers will make the Lions their turkeys.
Cold Shoulders Sits of the Week
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers vs. Jets: He’s getting the Darrelle Revis treatment (running out of catchy names for Revis’ effect on wide receivers), and unlike Randy Moss, I’m not sure you can count on Smith to score to compensate for his lack of yardage. Start him only if you must.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears vs. Vikings: While I like Devin Hester and Greg Olsen this week, it’s hard to bet on Cutler making all the right plays given his recent struggles. Interceptions will prevent him from capitalizing on what could have been a big fantasy day.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers vs. Ravens: Baltimore will take a special interest in shutting down Mendenhall and the run game, and putting the game into the hands of a slightly woozy Big Ben. I don’t know that this game is going to be very pretty.
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys vs. Raiders: He hasn’t been nearly as effective this season. I expect him to play through his injury, but I don’t like his chances to even equal his normal production this season unless turkey has some special regenerative powers.
Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Beanie’s building momentum down the stretch, but it slows here. Tim Hightower will benefit from a lot of checkdown passes against the Titans, but Beanie just isn’t getting those yet. I expect a quiet night. Save him for those lovely playoff matchups.
Snooze-Button Sleeper Pick of the Week
Alex Smith, QB, 49ers vs. Jags: He’s dropped off the radar a bit since he first took over the starting job in San Francisco, but Smith has a great chance to blow people away against the Jags. I expect Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree to get open early and often. Smith will capitalize if you’re current starter has a dirty matchup this week.
Song to Ease Your Pain While Setting Lineups
Iron Maiden – Pilgrim
It’s the most fitting song of the season. I’m putting my belt around my hat as we speak. We all know there’s no reason for belts on pants today of all days.
Good luck to you all and Happy Turkey Day.
At this point in the season, you might be more concerned with getting to the playoffs than succeeding once you get there. That’s okay. Take it one week at a time. I’ll wait…
But if you have the true heart of a champion, some good luck, and if you’ve been doing your research, you’ve probably go a nice spot on the mantel dusted and ready for this year’s fantasy football championship trophy. It’s okay if we block this photo of the in-laws, right?
In that case, it’s best to start planning for your future, and we’re not talking about your kids’ college funds or your financial plan to navigate this tough economy.
It’s even better. I give you a fantasy football roundtable of epic proportions. This week’s Fourth & 1 Debate was mine to rule, and I chose to look ahead at who might blow up or sink your battleship during Weeks 14-17.
By the way, if you have a playoff schedule that puts your championship game in Week 17, slap your commissioner, reschedule that game immediately, slap your commish again, and never, never speak of playing in Week 17 again. Week 17 isn’t NFL football. It’s just not right to win your league with Jim Sorgi. Not right at all.
This week’s Fourth & 1 Debate roundtable question:
Looking ahead at the fantasy football playoffs (Weeks 14-17), what one player would you want to own during those weeks and what one player would you want to unload before Week 14?
Trade deadlines are approaching. Playoffs spots will be locked up soon. The chances to acquire players through “sell high” or “buy low” opportunities are few are far between. That being the case, I’ve chosen to focus on a couple of guys who might still be easily moved. You wouldn’t have to break the bank, and you might end up with a stud on your hands in Weeks 14 through 16.
First, I’d look to acquire Tim Hightower.
Kurt Warner has been fond of the check-down passes thus far this season, and Hightower has been the beneficiary. Even against tough rushing defenses, Hightower never fails to stay involved in the passing game and take advantage of short-yardage and goal line opportunities.
It’d be great to have both Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower on your roster to hedge your bets against any late-season shifts in Beanie’s favor, but I believe Hightower will remain the primary receiving back on passing plays, which the Cardinals should be running plenty of in the fantasy playoffs.
The Cardinals face San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis in the fantasy playoffs. In Week 1 against the 49ers, Hightower ran just eight times for 15 yards, but he caught 12 passes for 121 yards. A similar performance in Week 14 wouldn’t surprise me, and, well, the Lions and Rams are what they are, great matchups for a team with a powerful offense. By the end of this season, one or both of those squads could have already given up for the year.
If you can’t get Hightower, Beanie Wells, Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison aren’t bad substitutions. All have a chance to succeed late in the season, and they all carry a fairly low price tag at this point. Bargain bin!
And, for those of you playing at home, I would try to unload DeAngelo Williams before the fantasy playoffs.
Williams finished the year as the No. 1 fantasy running back after a slow start, and he’s once again been inconsistent to start the year in 2009. It’s not just Jonathan Stewart stealing time and touches from him. This year, Jake Delhomme has developed a bad habit of throwing to players in other jerseys.
While Williams is come on strong the past three weeks, he should hit a slump starting in Week 11 against Miami and continuing, outside of a brief practice session against the Bucs in Week 13, into the fantasy playoffs. In Week 14, Williams faces the Patriots in New England, followed by the Vikings at home and the Giants in New York for the Giants’ last home game of the season.
If you’re a proud Williams owner, you should deal him away to the highest bidder this week or next before you get stuck in the dumps with him during the playoffs.
Smitty from Fantasy Football Xtreme says:
Every season, a grip of players step up during Weeks 14-16, while others shockingly disappoint. It’s a tough business predicting either, but I have come up with two names. I have talked a lot about running backs and wide receivers over the past few weeks, so this week I’m going to focus on quarterbacks.
One quarterback worth talking about before we even sniff Weeks 14-16 is Kurt Warner. The aging quarterback has been hit or miss this season, and he has thrown 7 interceptions over the past three games putting him at 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on the year. He has also fumbled the football twice over the last three weeks.
You’re probably guessing that Warner is my “unload” recommendation for Weeks 14-16, right? Wrong.
While I will admit that I have concerns about the aging quarterback staying healthy long enough to see Week 14, he has a fantastic fantasy playoff schedule. The Cardinals face the 49ers (28th) in Week 14, the Lions (29th) in Week 15 and Rams (24th) in Week 16. If healthy, Warner should have a fantastic finish to the fantasy season.
As for my top quarterback to unload before we hit Week 14, I have to go with Carson Palmer.
The Bengals passing schedule isn’t impossible, as they have two decent match-ups in Weeks 14 and 16 in the Vikings (23rd) and Chiefs (29th), but they do have a rough contest against the Chargers (6th) in Week 15. I know Palmer had a monster 5-touchdown performance before his Week 8 bye, where he completed 20-of-24 passes, but before that Week 7 outing, Palmer’s completion percentage was under 60 and he had almost as many interceptions (7) as he had touchdowns (8).
On the year, Palmer has yet to pass for over 300 yards. His Week 7 stats are making him look strong, but I’m predicting that he and the Bengals struggle down the stretch. I say unload Palmer now and take a lateral step into a quarterback with less risk.
Trade Palmer for a Ben Roethlisberger or a Matt Ryan. Both quarterbacks probably have similar perceived value, yet I like both better than Palmer down the stretch (especially in Weeks 14-16).
Junkyard Jake from Junkyard Jake says:
Glancing ahead to the fantasy playoff weeks this year, it appears that Drew Brees and the Saints’ passing game could benefit from a very favorable set of defensive matchups. During Weeks 14 through 16, the Saints face Atlanta on the road and then Dallas and Tampa Bay at home.
As if Brees needed an additional advantage, all three of these games will be in a dome. Moreover, all three of these defenses currently rank in the bottom third of the league in terms of points allowed by opposing quarterbacks.
In contrast to Brees’s favorable playoff schedule, it looks like the Bears’ Matt Forte could have a tougher time. Forte is already having a slightly disappointing season, and it doesn’t appear that he will catch a break during the fantasy playoff Weeks of 14, 15 and 16 when he is slated to face Green Bay, Baltimore and then Minnesota.
Green Bay has been allowing only 91 rush yards per game, and they have yielded just 3 rushing touchdowns so far. Forte’s Week 15 opponent, Baltimore, has allowed just 79 yards per game on the ground. Forte then faces the Vikings in Week 16, a team that touts the No. 2 run defense in the league.
Hatty from Hatty Waiver Wire Guru says:
So essentially we are looking at a buy low/sell high for the playoff run. Having the right RB for the playoffs is a huge key to victory and health is a major consideration for playoff runs.
My sell high right now would be LaDainian Tomlinson. He is coming off a two-touchdown performance, but again is a huge injury concern. You just can’t afford to go into playoffs with one of your top running backs leaving due to injury.
The running back I would work hard to obtain for the playoffs would be a running back who receives a major workload on a team making a run for the playoffs. Cedric Benson helped me to win a fantasy championship in the past and is a stellar running back to go into playoffs with. He is not prone to injury, doesn’t play in an RBBC situation and is on a team that has a solid chance at making the playoffs.
Ryan Lester from Lester’s Legends says:
Looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs, there are a couple of wide receivers that I would love to own and one that I want no part of.
The wide receivers that I love for the fantasy playoffs are Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Aside from being two of the best wide receivers in the game, there are some other reasons that make them so valuable when fantasy owners need them the most.
First of all, neither team is running away with their division meaning they will likely go full tilt the whole season as they vie for a playoff spot. While wide receivers like Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston are in the driver’s seat of their respective divisions, Fitz and A.J. are not. It’s conceivable that Wayne and Colston get a reduced workload in your league’s championship game. You don’t have to worry about that with Fitz or A.J.
They also have favorable schedules in the fantasy playoffs. Fitz plays at San Francisco, at Detroit and finishes at home against St. Louis. Week 14 could be tough for him, but the final two games could bring the monster performances you expected out of Fitz when you drafted him.
Andre Johnson’s schedule is also a breeze. He starts off at home against Seattle, travels to St. Louis and finishes at Miami. Obviously, I don’t like his championship opponent as much as Fitz, but if he leads you to the title game, you’re in the money anyway.
On the flip side, the player I don’t want on my team come fantasy playoffs time is Carolina’s Steve Smith.
The Panthers start off on the road at New England. Weather is very much a factor in New England in December, which doesn’t bode well for members of the passing game. Next up is Minnesota at home. The pressure that Jared Allen and company put on opposing quarterbacks could make for a long day. Finally, he finishes up against the Giants on the road in the swirling winds.
Smith faces three of the best teams in the league, two in what are likely to be bad-weather games, during the fantasy playoffs. Not to mention he plays in a run-first offense. If I were a Steve Smith owner and had championship aspirations, I’d try to move him now that he’s coming off a pair of good games.
Eric Stashin of Rotoprofessor says:
One of the players I would like to own down the stretch is Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons.
Fantasy football playoffs are tough because if you have a player who is on a team that is coasting into the playoffs, you just don’t know how much they are going to play. With the Falcons, they are three games behind the division lead already, but they are primed for a dogfight to take home the wild card.
In addition, the Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints (middle of the road in rushing defense), New York Jets (sans their big run stuffer, Kris Jenkins), the Buffalo Bills (currently allowing the most rushing yards per game in the league) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (need I say anymore).
That seems like the perfect set-up for a big way to close the season. He’s one of the best backs in the league, and if you are in a position to acquire him for the stretch drive, there is no reason to hesitate.
As for players to avoid, you almost have to look at the flip side: Which team appears to be ready to coast into the playoffs as well as having a tough schedule?
The Minnesota Vikings could be that team, as they have a lead in the division and have the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants on the schedule over the final four weeks. Three of those four teams are likely to be in contention for a playoff spot. The easiest game (Panthers) is on the road, as is the game in Chicago, so you don’t know what will happen there.
The likelihood is that the team focuses on the run, as they’ve already shown that they will do, meaning Brett Favre and the Vikings receivers may struggle down the stretch.
Paul Greco from Fantasy Pros 911 says:
I love looking ahead. Why you ask? Well, if I’m looking ahead to Weeks 14 through 17, that means I have a shot at the playoff. Yup, I’m about to make it rain in the Greco household.
The one player that I’d like to unload, not only during the Weeks 14 through 17, but right now, is Carolina Panther’s running back DeAngelo Williams. Coming off a huge game on the ground in Week 8, right now is the time to look to unload Williams.
Starting Week 11, Williams has the toughest Strength-of-Schedule (SOS) the rest of the season. With games against the Miami Dolphins (Week 11), New York Jets (Week 12), New England Patriots (Week 14) and the Minnesota Vikings (Week 15), all four teams are currently ranked in the top 10 for rush defense.
Cedric Benson, running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, is a player you must look to add to your team now. C.B. has the easiest SOS of any running back starting Week 11.
With games against the Oakland Raiders (Week 11), Cleveland Browns (Week 12), Detroit Lions (Week 13), San Diego Chargers (Week 15) and the Kansas City Chiefs (Week 16), all five teams give up an average of 117 rushing yards a game or worse.
C.B. has shown he can carry the load for the Bengals, so why not your team? Look to make a move for CB now, and enjoy big gains the rest of the season.
Bryce McRae from KFFL says:
My pickup for the playoffs: the Kansas City Chiefs’ Kolby Smith (knee). He’s a deep sleeper, yes, but it shouldn’t cost much to get him, and he could pay huge dividends.
Starter Larry Johnson’s suspension ends after Week 9, but the team has given some thought to releasing him. At some point, they have to start looking toward the future.
Jamaal Charles, a third-round pick last year, is expected to shoulder most of the load this week. He’s more of a speedy change-of-pace back, however, and the Chiefs have utilized him as a rusher only 23 times this year. A lot of that has come out of passing downs, too.
This leads us to Smith; the third-year back has carried a full workload in the past (Weeks 12 through 16 in 2007: 100 carries for 387 yards and two scores), and he says he has confidence in his rehabilitated knee. Head coach Todd Haley says Smith is moving around well in practice, too. Smith has the bulk (5-foot-11, 219 pounds) that could help him hold up as a primary back over the speedier Charles.
Kansas City faces the Buffalo Bills (most rushing yards allowed per game to backs this year), the Cleveland Browns (third most) and the Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 14 through 16, respectively. Cincy isn’t a great matchup, but Smith could be a beast during those two first games.
On the flip side, one player I’m looking to unload before the playoffs is the San Francisco 49ers’ Michael Crabtree. I don’t have much faith in Alex Smith behind center for the long term. I feel defenses might be able to shut down Crabtree, too, once they have more film on him and how the 49ers are using him. Remember: This is still a run-first offense.
Also, I don’t believe his value will be any higher after his first three games. Wait for him to burn the Tennessee Titans, a generous defense to this position, in Week 9 and then sell high on the former Texas Tech wideout.
The defenses Crabtree will face in the traditional playoffs weeks: the Detroit Lions (Week 14), the Arizona Cardinals (Week 15) and the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 16). Philly’s D has been one of the top against this position all season while the other two have shown improvement in the last month. Plus, Detroit’s run D has been bad enough that San Fran might opt to pound the ball.
Kurt Turner from Top-Fantasy-Football says:
Strength of schedule is key when planning for the fantasy football playoffs. Teams like Arizona, San Diego and Miami all have juicy matchups. FFToolbox.com has a nice tool you can use found here that analyzes matchups by position for you.
Here are my picks to own and unload: Kurt Warner and Roddy White.
Snatch up Kurt Warner. He should be a beast in the playoffs. Trade for him now and don’t be afraid to overpay, especially if you’re hurting at quarterback.
A guy I don’t like for the playoffs is Roddy White. White faces some tough pass defenses weeks 14, 15 and 16. If you can get Warner for White (and some change) and still have some other good options at wide receiver, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Good Luck!
That’s all for this week’s Fourth & 1 Debate. While I am largely a fan of riding hot hands into the ground rather than trading them away because of perceived slumps on the horizon, preparing for the fantasy football playoffs is a necessity.
Oh, and if you have a championship game in Week 17, slap your commish again for me.
As always, the comments are yours. Have a player you’re concerned about for the fantasy playoffs? Would you like to add more names to the hat of players to add/drop? Leave a comment to let us know.
Baseball stole our Sunday Night Football. How is that fair? Give it back, World Series. I demand it.
I’m fine with baseball as long as I don’t have to sit through an entire game. In my opinion, it should be played in highlight form, jumping to the major parts and leaving out all the rest.
Pitching change? No, sir. You should only be able to make a change between innings. You play yourself out of your own mess, pitcher.
We could also probably speed things up by not using a third baseman. If you get past second, you have to beat the catcher to home plate or get caught trying.
Yeah, yeah, I know that ruins all that “for the love of the game” stuff, but baseball hasn’t done it for me for several years now. I am all for going to a game in person, but watching a game on TV is just…not the same.
And besides, the first minute baseball interferes with my football, it violates my rights. I think it’s fair to hold a grudge. I was forced to watch the Favre-Favre-Favre-fest in Green Bay, and then it was just over. Done.
But at least they put on National Treasure.
Fantasy Football Fools has a new enemy.
Patrick Crayton gets a pass this week. He’s settled in nicely to his role as the slot receiver and returner for the Cowboys.
No, the new bane of my existence is one Marc Bulger, quarterback of the St. Louis Rams and the only human incapable of throwing a touchdown pass against the Lions.
It was a bit of a sleeper pick — okay, a lot of a sleeper pick — to toss him into my starting lineups this week, but it was out of necessity in one league.
Believe it or not, the blogger league I am in was smart enough to stock up on quarterbacks this year. I got hosed in the draft at quarterback and ended up with only Carson Palmer and Trent Edwards. Edwards has since been dropped for bench depth and pure worthlessness.
Palmer’s bye week in Week 8 left me wanting, so I went to the waiver wire only to find that Bulger was the best it had to offer. I almost pulled off the victory, even with Bulger’s pathetic 5.3-point performance, but the Saints defense butchered me in the end.
In the Buffalo Wild Wings All-Star Blogger league, I went with Bulger over Mark Sanchez, mostly due to a fear that Sanchez would do just enough to win. Surely, Marc Bulger, facing the defenseless Detroit Lions, could put up a touchdown, maybe even two touchdowns.
How could I be so foolish…
Luckily, I pulled off the win without Bulger in the BWW league thanks to a clutch performance from Tony Gonzalez and a low-scoring week for my opponent, but Bulger is still not to be trusted.
It’s not like you own him in any leagues, but Bulger is all that is wrong with mankind. When the time arises to do what is necessary, he fails miserably, even with the odds in his favor. Bulger is Mr. Glass to everyone else’s unbreakable Bruce Willis. He’s the even more obscure movie reference to that movie reference.
To his credit, he’s not getting a lot of help out there from his offensive line, but he does have Steven Jackson fighting like a champ for extra yards on every play.
In short, he’s not going to be on my team come Week 9, and I’ll be a better man for it.
Okay, okay. I agree that starting Beanie Wells wasn’t the smartest move. But if the Cardinals hadn’t been forced to pass after going down early — what happened to that run defense? — we might have seen a completely different outcome for Beanie.
As it happened, Andre Johnson was definitely the stronger start, but neither player blew anybody out of the water this week. The Texans were slowed by the Buffalo Bills’ passing defense, but the Bills’ run defense was pathetic, just as advertised.
Ryan Moats, most known for being abused by police, took over the running duties after Steve Slaton was benched for fumbling, and Moats tried his best to earn a larger portion of the duties moving forward. He scored three touchdowns, and if you own Slaton, he probably caused you a minor aneurysm.
The best part? It’s anybody’s guess what this means for Slaton and Moats going forward. Moats could be in line for the starting job. Slaton owners better just try to lock up both backs while they can.
Slaton’s been disappointing enough, but there’s no sense allowing the Houston running game to slip from your grasp by ignoring Moats’ big day.
Apparently, we shouldn’t have been so worried about LaDainian Tomlinson, but for a two-touchdown day, the yardage wasn’t there. Just 56 yards and not a single reception? That doesn’t have me screaming “He’s back” in the street anytime soon.
I loved Matt Forte last season. He was my best pick in the draft last year, and I rode his consistency all the way into the fantasy playoffs. But he’s just not getting the job done this year.
The offensive line isn’t helping him in the running game, and Jay Cutler has the ability to make plays through the air when the game is close rather than checking down to Forte like Kyle Orton was fond of doing last year.
Without those check-down passes, Forte suffers against tough run defenses. He has only shown up against the Lions and this week against the Browns.
If you have the opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to trade him, but try to get the greatest value you can for a guy who was drafted with a top-five pick this year.
Is the AFC East the most unpredictable division in football? Just when you think that you know how a game is going to turn out, they spin it on you.
I lucked into starting the Miami defense in one league, but how we were to expect the Dolphins would beat the Jets again? And this time off the returning skills of Ted Ginn?
The Patriots need to get back to form to make everything normal again.
Steven Jackson finally scored a touchdown. The world shook. The seas parted, and it’ll probably never happen again in 2009. Single tear. He deserves many more for the way he’s been running this year, but the schedule is not in his favor.