Playoff Prep: Top Fantasy RBs for the 2007 Playoffs

Smitty of Fantasy Football Xtreme has put together a list of the top 10 fantasy running backs to have for the playoffs. Consider yourself lucky if you have any of the fools listed, and cry if your first round opponent has more than one of the top 10. Just cry.

While I agree with most of the list, I do have some slight adjustments. Smitty’s list is:

  1. Adrian Peterson (MIN)
  2. LaDainian Tomlinson
  3. Brian Westbrook
  4. Steven Jackson
  5. Joseph Addai
  6. Frank Gore
  7. Willie Parker
  8. Ryan Grant
  9. Reggie Bush
  10. Marion Barber

I agree completely with most of the list and rankings, but I do think that Addai and Ryan Grant deserve to be bumped a little higher. Addai has been consistent thus far and has a match up against Oakland in Week 15 that blows away the downside of his match up against the Ravens in week 14. I would trust him more than I would trust Steven Jackson for my playoff run

Ryan Grant has shown he is a back that can break down even tough defenses with the Green Bay offense, and he plays Oakland first round, St. Louis second round, and Chicago on the week you are probably in your championship game (Week 16). He could very well put up some disgusting numbers for your team, and I might rank him about Willie Parker and Frank Gore for just that reason. His match ups are just better.

At 10, Smitty points out that Ernest Graham, Larry Johnson and Travis Henry could all be a factor around the end of this list depending upon their health and suspension status. I would add to that list Willis McGahee–hopefully you didn’t sit him tonight, if so, I hope you’re not watching him break through the Patriots linebackers. McGahee plays the Colts, Miami and Seattle during your playoffs. I guess that technically makes the list like a top 15 instead of a top 10. But hey, maybe it includes one of your RB and gives you that much more of a reason to go on living, so sue me.

Week 13: Waiver wire replacements for your injuries, sir

Oh, you weren’t starting to settle into a nice little butt groove going into the last week before playoffs were you? I’m sorry. If you didn’t notice, several starters just fell apart this week leaving you in the position to grab up the next starter before you playoff opponents or in great need of grabbing your back ups if you didn’t handcuff.

This week we’ll combine the injury report and waiver wire.

Philip Rivers, QB SD
Keep your eye on Rivers. Even though he has been inconsistent, he could emerge as a promising starter for your playoff run if another owner has already given up on him.

Kolby Smith, RB KC
If no one picked him up last week, does 150+ yards and 2 TDs convince you? Of course, that was against Oakland, but Smith should get his yards as the focus of the Kansas City offense as long as Larry Johnson stays out.

Roddy White, WR ATL
Harrington is going to look to White when they make a play. He’s consistent if you have a hit or miss WR that might give you trouble in the playoffs.

Trent Edwards, QB BUF
If you are hurting–and I mean hurting–at QB, you are probably stuck with one of the Trents. Trent Edwards was not much more than a game manager during his previous stint as a starter in Buffalo. He needs to meet a guy name Lee Evans before he will make his mark fantasy-wise, but for the moment, he will start over J.P. Losman to end this season. If you just need a starter, he is breathing and starting for the moment for the Bills.

Trent Dilfer, QB SF
He’s the other Trent. With Alex Smith in recovery, Dilfer put up decent numbers–250+ yards and 2 TDs. It’s hard to say which Trent would be a better addition to your roster, but Dilfer does have the better match up this week with Cleveland.

Anthony Thomas, RB BUF
Marshawn Lynch looks to be out again this week, so as long as Thomas’ own injury from Sunday is minor, he should get the start. Considering the Buffalo Trent, Trent Edwards, is back as a starter for the first game in his new stint, look for them to give Thomas plenty of carries against Washington.

Adrian Peterson, RB CHI
Peterson is now the full-time starter with Cedric Benson ending his dismal season with injury on Sunday. Don’t expect big numbers because the Bears don’t have an easy street schedule to end the season, but Peterson can be a decent number 2 RB.

Andre Hall and/or Cecil Sapp, RB DEN
The value here is all about injuries. Travis Henry is out with his knee, and Selvin Young was hurt last week and sat out Sunday. Andre Hall tweaked his own ankle in the game Sunday but played through the injury. Depending upon who returns, Hall and Young could split carries or if everyone is hurt, Cecil Sapp could start for the Broncos. Shanny is unpredictable, and this call could all come down to a game time decision.

Patrick Cobbs, RB MIA
With Ricky Williams ending his NFL season with less than 20 yards and a fumble and Chatman going out again Monday night with a neck injury, the Dolphins might have to look at Cobbs for the remainder of the season or until Chatman gets back in shape. He’s a dangerous start, but he could be a factor against the Jets.

Reuben Droughns, RB NYG
He wasn’t completely dismal against the Vikings tough run D and unless Derrick Ward returns to start this week, look for Droughns to get the start again against the low-ranked Chicago run defense.

Tony Scheffler, TE DEN
Back from injury, Scheffler has become a factor with Jay Cutler in the second half of the season. Consider picking him up if you need a good back up TE for the playoffs or have an underperforming TE–even one like Greg Olsen or Owen Daniels.

LJ Smith, TE PHI
Some owners gave up on him as he struggled to get healthy at the beginning of the year, but LJ is now back to his usual in Philadelphia. I think Scheffler has the bigger upside, but Smith can be consistent as long as the Eagles QB situation doesn’t get too chaotic.

Sidney Rice, WR MIN
He’s hit or miss, but if you want a big play WR to help you out for this final week of glory or in your playoff run, Rice has big play ability.

Injury Blurb: Reggie Bush still banged up and a Testy stiff back

vinny testaverdeNew Orleans’ Reggie Bush is still whining about his injuries a bit, so he is a game time decision–always ominous–for Sunday. Make sure you check the reports before you set your roster. Stecker would fill in, but you really want Bush for this one. He said earlier in the week that he could play through the pain and be a tough guy, but check the reports tomorrow morning just in case.

Carolina’s Vinny Testaverde came in Friday with a stiff back–what did he do Thursday night? He may be in danger of losing the start to David Carr this week. For Steve Smith owners, that’s right, pray for Vinny to get it together. David Carr hates Steve Smith because Smith made fun of his little gloves. They never play nice together.

Questions Answered: What am I to do with Tom Brady?

This week I decided to take a little looksey in my search logs and answer the questions you were asking Google instead of asking me. It seems several people are scared about what to do if they have Tom Brady here at the end of the season. I am sure you are all quaking with fear here at the end of the season with losing record with that unpredictable rascal Brady on your team? Sure you are.

What you wondering is whether they are going to start sitting Brady for the playoffs pretty soon–don’t count on it. The Patriots have already stated more than once that they want to focus on playing complete games. Whether they have a bunch of pent up aggression from the spy camera scandal at the start of the season or whether they just don’t want to blow a game to the Colts like they did last year, the Patriots are not going to let themselves fall into complacency here at the end of the season.

Now the smart move, if you are still listening rather than jumping up and down fist pumping because Brady just scored another touchdown–I hate you, by the way–you should pick up Matt Cassel–not because of his dashing Brady-like appearance but because he gives you two strong plus points.

If anything were to happen to the force that is Tom Brady this season, Cassel would be the guy to step in and throw those lazy shots over the middle to Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and the speedster Wes Welker. If you don’t think Brady’s nagging shoulder is going to take him out this season, then the second bonus of having Cassel on your team is that if they do start sitting Brady, you have a decent play to fill in at QB until the Brady-ster returnsl to glory. If the Patriots’ contract with the devil expires and they LOSE a game this season, they just might sit Brady for playoffs and let Cassel get some reps in to boost the ol’ confidence.

Of course, if you want to avoid having to make a call altogether about whether Brady will sit/start, the easy solution is to carry a second starting QB on your roster and plug them in when necessary–say a sly old dog like Kurt Warner or even a chippy young thing like a turning around Vince Young or J.P. Losman could even give you some decent fantasy points down the stretch. These QBs just might still be on the wire in your leagues, and have mostly easy match ups to close the season.

Week 12 Injury Update: Rookie RB Switcheroo for Lynch and Peterson

Minnesota rookie Adrian Peterson has been updated to questionable for this week against the New York Giants. By questionable, Minnesota probably means “scaring the Giants defensive game plan.” I have to doubt that they would throw him to the wolves on his first game back from injury against the bruising Giants blitz attack unless they agree that they have no offense besides their running game. If he does suit up, I would expect Chester Taylor to still have the start. If you are praying for his return this week, make sure you have another smart play.

The Buffalo Bill’s rookie RB Marshawn Lynch, without a doubt the second-best rookie RB in the league this year, will not play again this week against Jacksonville. From what I hear, the Jacksonville defense is pretty tough, so I wouldn’t have liked to see the second best rookie breaking out against them on his return from an ankle injury. Maybe we will see him back in week 13 against Washington, and maybe running backs will start putting up the points they used to before the NFL changed to an all-throwing league.

And now, a funeral for Larry Johnson’s season

LJ profile

R.I.P. LJ’s 2007 Fantasy Season

He came in with such high hopes this season–heralded as one of the top RBs in fantasy and setting a franchise record with his latest contract with the Chiefs.

And then, he went and performed like a back up for the first four games of the season. I’ll hold that against him considering he was killing one of my fantasy teams by stinkin’ up the joint. Luckily, he came back to form in week 4 and exploded weeks 6 through week 9, when the Packers forced him to leave the game with an official undisclosed injury.

A now an moment of silence for LJ…

That’s all that has been coming out the Kansas City camp since his injury, but now, we finally get confirmation that he has a Lisfranc fracture similar to what Kevin Jones suffered from last season. Since they are being so quiet, and LJ vows to return, they may feel that his injury is not going to be that major, but considering that he sits this week against Oakland, the only good match up he has left is week 14 in Denver. After that game, he faces Tennessee for week 15–not helping you much in the playoffs–and then Detroit for most championships in week 16.

It seems unlikely that he will make it back by then–or even make it back in time to not share carries with Kolby Smith on his return, so for fantasy purposes, his season is probably done. Move on, nothing to see here. Just a undisclosed injury trying to keep your fantasy hopes alive. Give up the roster spot and pick up someone with a brighter future ahead unless you are in some kind of crazy keeper league. LJ might play again this year, but probably not best to hold out for it to be your team unless you are stacked at RB.

Prepping your defense for the fantasy playoffs

I am featuring The 5 Minute Drill once again this week just in case you missed last week’s posting and because they have some good advice for defenses down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Pick up Tampa Bay or Arizona if you defense is putting up something close to Bengals numbers–and punch yourself in the face for not doing it sooner.

[Note: Week 12 episode of "The 5 Minute Drill" removed due to ONnetworks going offline. You can view the podcasts on iTunes or find out more about them at the Footballguys.com link above.]

Week 12 Pick Ups: Still a few turkeys out there

I know it’s a holiday, but it’s also the best time to get a jump on the other teams by grabbing the best players off the waiver wire. If you don’t have any injuries–you must have signed that contract with Satan, but regardless, there is fresh blood and starters running around the NFL.

Here are the people worth taking.

Kolby Smith, RB Kansas City Chiefs
With no LJ and no Priest, Smith will have to carry this team for them to have a prayer.

Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel, RB New England Patriots
The Patriot running backs rotate weekly. With Maroney and Faulk going down with injuries last week, we could see the hand-offs going to Evans or Eckel this week. Keep an eye on the injury rep–wait, it’s the Patriots. Just guess…or play Eckel if you have to pick one to take a chance since he gets most of the garbage carries for TDs. General rule of thumb is not to trust Patriot RBs.

Matt Schaub, QB Houston Texans
If no one has him, you should. Schaub has a hot playoff schedule and his best receiving option–Andre Johnson–back to save his season.

Chris Brown, RB Tennessee Titans
Chris Henry has withdrawn his appeal to serve out a four-game suspension, so Brown will get the majority of the carries outside of LenDale White (which is a pretty small area) this season. He might not be the best play with more teams attacking the Titans run game, but if you need a RB, he might still be out there on the wire.

Ted Ginn, Jr., WR Miami Dolphins
New QB John Beck seems to like throwing to Ginn. If Ginn continues to perform, he might be worth snagging for a late playoff support. Watch how he does this week against a rough Pittsburgh team.

Ronald Curry, Oakland Raiders
Best game of the season in week 11. He could get better…or worse. Watch the QB situation and see if his trend continues upwards.

Ricky Williams, RB Miami Dolphins
Ricky, Ricky, Ricky. He’s back from “on high” but Cameron is being tight-lipped about what role he will play. He is worth snagging if you have a roster spot and may split carries with Jesse Chatman against the Steelers. You have to think the Dolphins will at least want to show other teams what he can do so that they can deal him at the end of this season, but don’t expect him to be able to do much more than Chatman can with these Dolphins.

Vinny Testaverde, QB Carolina Panthers
This old guy just doesn’t quit. He won the starting job again this week from Carr–not hard–and has a nice match up against the Saints who just let Houston play shooting range on their secondary.

Andre Hall, RB Denver Broncos
It’s Shanny, he has been a fantasy column darling a few times already this year, he scored a long TD on Monday and Selvin Young might still be banged up. There’s your reasoning.

Maybe avoid these…

Rex Grossman, QB Chicago Bears
Grossman is still the starter. If you have ever won the lottery, take your chance with him, but remember he could always resort back to the bad decision maker he is deep inside–it’s his inner child. He plays the Denver Broncos, and they have some pretty good corners.

Reuben Droughns/Derrick Ward, RB New York Giants
Whoever fills in for Brandon Jacobs will at least be a starting RB, but they play the Vikings. Find a better sub if you got one.

Michael Pittman, RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
He exists somewhere behind Graham. Carries should increase, and you could bank on Graham getting injured if you are desperate. There are probably better options.

LJ Smith, TE Philadelphia Eagles
He’s back and performing like his un-injured self, but his QB Donovan McNabb may be out for quite awhile. LJ might not be feelin’ Feeley and the potential for QB controversy to end the season with Kolb waiting in Eagles’ wings.

Joey Harrington, QB Atlanta Falcons
Yeah, he’s starting. So what? He’s JOEY HARRINGTON. He might lead them to a win, or he might blow it all away.

Have a great turkey day everybody! Enjoy watching Romo, Favre and Manning put on a gunslinger show while gorging yourself. Don’t worry about getting fat, fantasy football prowess will soon become a factor in good looks.

Week 12 Injury Report: Give thanks for back ups

football turkey

Someone just told me that you can buy a turkey at the store these days. Who knew? I just spent the last week in a ditch waiting for a gobbler to get caught in my cage full of blown up surgical gloves–finally got one.

Bet you thought I wasn’t going to get you your fantasy update before turkey day…but you were wrong.

It seems no running back will make it to the playoffs unscathed this year. Almost every single one in the league has sat at least one game or had an injury scare. This week, you may be able to snag a back up before your league handcuffs their players, and these backups could save your season.

Give thanks if you don’t own a player on this huge list.

Vince Young, QB Tennessee Titans
Reggie Bush, RB New Orleans Saints

Don’t worry about these two top NFL draft picks. Young will play through his injury even if it still nags him, and Bush is set to play according to the latest news out of New Orleans.

Santana Moss, WR Washington Redskins
Antwaan Randle El, WR Washington Redskins

The Redskins receivers are taking a beating this year, but Moss and Randle El are reportedly still going to start this week. Moss is coming off a big game as the go to receiver, so even though the lightning rod single-game explosion of James Thrash will be missing for another six years or so week 12 the Redskins could have another hot receiving day against Tampa Bay.

Priest Holmes, RB Kansas City Chiefs
Larry Johnson, RB Kansas City Chiefs

LJ is being secretive about his injury, but it seems like he is planning on making it back in time to help you out in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, while he sits again this week, Priest Holmes will also be abandoning them by retiring today. Rookie Kolby Smith will be taking over for this offense and might be worth starting this week against Oakland–the most holy defensive line in the NFL lately.

Javon Walker, WR Denver Broncos

Walker might be back this week since he is practicing. I say *might* because the star WR has been out eight games now. If he is available in your league, for God’s sake man, pick him up. Walker was a beast near the end of the season last year and could return to make Jay Cutler look very good here at the end of the fantasy season.

The still hurt:

Shaun Alexander, RB Seattle Seahawks

The money man will sit again this week and let Maurice Morris make people think paying high-dollar for a RB is always a bad decision. According to Bill Parcels, the position has a four year life span and is not worth signing anyone at high expense. Maybe Alexander just has a second year’s worth of the Madden curse.

Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings

You can pray to the purple Jesus of fantasy football, but you won’t see him back this week.

As a side note, Chester Taylor‘s lead blocker Tony Richardson sprained his MCL. Taylor might be missing Richardson’s large, comforting presence blocking Giants tacklers in front of him this week. He has not been named as out for the game this week yet, but Richardson’s status might be worth watching.

Ahman Green, RB Houston Texans

Ahman has one banged up knee that won’t go away, but the Texans want to keep him around. Surely, there are probably better backs available in most leagues, but if not, you can keep holding out for Green–pick up Ron Dayne in the meantime if no one else has him as they play the Browns this week.

Laveranues Coles, WR New York Jets

Coles will probably sit this week against the Cowboys secondary on Thanksgiving because of his sprained ankle. Coles has had a rough season but might still be worth holding onto if you don’t have a mammoth core of receivers. Justin McCareins will likely start in his place with Jerricho Cotchery moving to the number one receiver spot for Kellen Clemens big arm.

Santonio Holmes, WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Holmes is likely to miss the game this week and sit on the sidelines with Troy Palamalu–bad news for Holmes owners but good news for Miami receivers. Wait, does Miami have receivers? or an offense? Scratch that.

Nate Washington will start in Holmes place.

Patrick Crayton, WR Dallas Cowboys

Crayton didn’t want to miss out on the injury party, so he injured his ankle in practice. If he does not play on Thanksgiving, Sam Hurd will get the nod. Hurd is a fast, breaking WR like Terrell Owens, but against the Jets, expect most of the throws to go T.O. and Jason Witten‘s way. Hurd is probably not a good play this week.

Marshawn Lynch, RB Buffalo Bills

The second best rookie RB might still sit this week but wouldn’t be a very good fantasy pick this week anyway against the Jaguars. Anthony Thomas should be starting again–and probably pretty poorly this week.

Ryan Grant, RB Green Bay Packers

Grant hurt his ankle and might not recover in time to play on Thanksgiving. If you have another option, you might not play him or sit your laptop atop the turkey to update your roster before game time. The family won’t mind, just don’t block the turkey legs. Who knows which GB RB will see more time if he is out–Morency or Jackson?

Aaron Moorehead, WR Indianapolis Colts
Marvin Harrison, WR Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are dropping like flies again. Moorehead is out for the season with a back injury, so Anthony Gonzalez should return as the starter with Reggie Wayne. Harrison is still mysteriously not returning–maybe saving him for retirement playoffs?

Brandon Jacobs, RB New York Giants

Jacobs is out as the big bruiser for this week. Reuben Droughns and/or Derrick Ward will make up for his huge absence. Watch the injury reports to see if Ward will make it back in time for the game. Keep in mind that they play the Vikings run defense this week.

Donovan McNabb, QB Philadelphia Eagles

McNabb is banged up this week, but he is not a good play against the Patriots anyway. A.J. Feeley would probably fill in if every other team in your league has a bench full of QBs.

Lesson of the week: make sure you back up your studs.

ONnetworks’ The 5 Minute Drill for your weekly run down of fantasy info

I realize that Fantasy Football Fools may not be the greatest visual masterpiece in the fantasy football space. We may be informative, but a lot of text isn’t pretty ALL the time.

I offer you something better to stare at as you try to hold back the tears of this week’s fantasy loss: The 5 Minute Drill.

Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom‘s video podcast gives you analysis and long-term predictions outside of their usual gig at Footballguys.com where they charge to give you the insider edge. I can’t even count up the number of unique predictions they made early in this fantasy season that have now come to fruition. I’m also completely envious of Cecil’s hair–you know, in case I ever get mugged.

Unfortunately, they only produce one podcast per week, but check them out as a compliment to our obsessive 24/7 offerings.

Note: Links changed to Footballguys.com and embedded video removed since ONnetworks’ site shut down.