I’m keeping the same format as we’ve been doing the lasttwo weeks. Feel free to see those past posts for more players you might have missed for the stretch run.
Week 11 Pickups
Those who have followed my pickups in the past know I’m a fan of Danario Alexander. He’s got fantastic hands and always seems capable of taking it to the house…when his knees agree with him, that is.
If Robert Meachem could loan Alexander his knees, Alexander might be a lock as the No. 1 wide receiver for the Chargers the rest of the way. As it is, you’ll have to risk Alexander staying on the field. He’s still worth adding.
And if you’re still in need of receiver help, don’t forget about Cecil Shorts. And Donald Jones looks like he will keep producing in Buffalo, especially in PPR leagues with his consistent catches.
Mark Ingram had the most touches, and Darren Sproles should return soon. But for the second week in a row, Ivory found the end zone. It makes you wonder if the Saints’ coaches will be able to keep him off the field.
Pierre Garcon will “test” his foot injury this week. He may even try to play. I wouldn’t consider starting him, but if you have the space to put him on your bench, this is the week to stash him away. Robert Griffin III needs his No. 1 target back if he can get him.
Remember to grab Beanie Wells and Cedric Benson for your roster as well if no one else has hidden them away yet. Wells should return in Week 12, and Benson could help you in the fantasy playoffs.
Greg Olsen was the Panthers offense in Week 10. It’s nice to see his matchups finally pay off. Against Tampa Bay in Week 11, he could stay hot.
If you are quarterbackless — first of all, what a terrible word…and a what terrible thing to be — Jake Locker makes for an intriguing grab after the Titans dismantled the Dolphins. Locker didn’t do much, but he certainly gave the Titans a spark.
I’ve mentioned him in previous weeks, but I didn’t want anyone to forget about him while he’s on bye in Week 11. When Locker returns, he could show us the Titans we expected to see this season with him at the controls.
Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick could both make for interesting one-week plays if you have a quarterback on bye this week while Michael Vick and Alex Smith recover from their concussions.
It’s very possible Smith will play this week, but in Vick’s case, Foles may be the starter for the rest of the season in Philly if the organization decides to move on and look towards the future.
Foles could have QB2 value, but it’s hard to see much more than that with the Eagles’ poor line play and his inexperience.
At least those two young quarterbacks might be more exciting to own than Byron Leftwich or Jason Campbell.
Is your fantasy team starting to make you feel like this?
It’s getting a little rough out of there after only one week of play. So how about we get to a better place in Week 2?
For the most part, you should stick to your guns this week and see if your team rises into the fantasy juggernaut you thought you drafted in Week 2, but there are a few situations worth worrying about.
Matchups That Scare Me This Week:
Michael Vick vs. Ravens. As bad as Vick looked against the Browns, this game could be even worse. He’s probably better than he showed in Week 1, but when is he going to be that guy again? I think you’re stuck starting him if you drafted him as an elite option, but brace yourself.
Chris Johnson vs. Chargers. I’m not sure if it’s his instincts or his offensive line, but it’s looking like another looooong year for Chris Johnson owners. The Chargers slowed down Darren McFadden in Week 1 and could easily keep Johnson at bay. Chances are he’s another player you just have to start because of where you had to draft him, and we’ll just have to hope he finds his rhythm in Week 2.
Trent Richardson vs. Bengals. It’s tough to be a Brown right now. That’s about all you can say.
Michael Turner vs. Broncos. I’m not alone in doubting Turner, and a Denver no huddle attack led by Peyton Manning should force the Falcons into a hurried no huddle of their own. Turner won’t do much for you this week unless he finds the end zone. Jacquizz Rodgers is the Atlanta running back to own this season, but he probably needs another week or two to ripen.
For a more upbeat look at starts and sits for Week 2, I’m throwing it to Footballguys TV.
Pete’s general lack of ambition and disheveled appearance certainly don’t hinder his ability with the ladies. His prowess is best displayed in his uncanny ability to “outkick his coverage” with each girl he brings around. Danielle, his latest catch, is just another example of his ability to go above and beyond. Kudos to him.
As the league goes into the final week of the regular season, Ruxin’s in full gloat mode and laying into the entire league with video trash-talking rants on the league boards.
Can’t say that I blame him. Any champion would be doing the same if they were still on the outside looking in. You have to put up a strong front. Plus…he’s playing Andre.
Unfortunately, one of his more grotesque videos gets intercepted by the human resources department at his office, which gets him banned from using his company email to communicate with the league.
Stepping away from the plot for a second, I’m surprised Ruxin was able to get away with it for as long as he has. I don’t know anyone — anyone still in a fantasy league at least — who uses their work email as the official email for their fantasy football league. Do you? [Please comment below if you do]
Using your work email account for trash-talking and general league debauchery is just asking to be flagged by HR…or IT…or Homeland Security.
You can check your scores on the company computers (just as any good addict would), but I would advise you to never, NEVER use your work email address for fantasy football.
Without his trusty work email address, Ruxin’s forced to revive his old Hotmail account, which, as Pete aptly points out, is “the official email of foreigners and poor people.” I will be stealing that joke for all future conversations involving Hotmail.
And Ruxin’s change of email provider ends up causing Andre grief when Ruxin accidentally adds Andre’s cleaning lady, Andrea, to an email string in place of Andre — an email string that contains at least one picture of “Alan” (autocorrect speak for…well, you know).
Seeing the horror that Andre’s friends are capable of, Andrea rightfully no longer wants to enter his apartment. She is kind enough to give him one last chance to redeem himself: coming to her community theater performance of “A Christmas Carol.”
While the rest of the league is wrapped up in league activities, Kevin’s been reunited with one of the men he put behind bars, Gavin. Kevin’s daughter, Ellie, just happens to befriend the ex-con’s daughter, Chloe, in her gym class.
To make matters worse, it’s not just any ex-con. Kevin was laughing hysterical at an autocorrect mistake in a text from Jenny when Gavin was escorted past him and into a scenic two-year stay in prison.
Oh, and somewhere in there, Andre started dressing as various British caricatures, rhyming, and changed his team name to the “James Bo-Andres.”
As one might predict, Pete’s lineup, without Michael Vick, fails miserably, much to Danielle’s misunderstanding.
Andre drags Ruxin to the community theater performance so that neither of them can watch the results of their showdown on Monday night, and when Ruxin’s team loses by just one point, he blows up in a Ruxin fit just as the actors take their bow, once again running into his friend in human resources.
And without Jenny to keep him stable, Kevin receives an autocorrected text from Gavin that was supposed to say “Bringing in Chloe’s fuzzy” but instead read “coming in with chloroform.”
The text snaps Kevin into full “I will protect this house!” mode, but his gun is missing — Guest bonged!
After a string of 911 calls prove worthless to both Kevin (hiding in his Harry Potter panic room under the stairs) and Gavin (squirming around inside Kevin’s bathroom), Taco soon saves the day by chasing both Gavin and Kevin out of the house while high as a kite inside the Mr. McGibblets outfit.
Memorable quotes from Episode 11:
TACO: “I thought the season was over.”
KEVIN: “Daddy’s doing adult talk.”
RUXIN: “Andre, I’m going to take my hand, stick it inside of you, and then open it like a baseball mit.”
PETE: “I can’t tell what’s funnier. Is it that you chose ‘theRuxster’? Or is it that you have an actual Hotmail account, the official email of foreigners and poor people.”
KEVIN: “A little early for Alan conversation, wouldn’t you say?” RUXIN: “I usually don’t propose that until a bottle of wine and a warm bath.”
GAVIN [on prison]: “It was…kinda…rapey.”
KEVIN: “That went poorly.”
PETE: “So that you can Plaxidentally shoot yourself in your own house?”
TACO: “We need to get drunk and go to the firing range, a.k.a. the field next to the highway.”
TACO: “I like it here. There’s Internet…and HEAT.”
ANDRE: “Taco, mind yourself on the apples and pears!”
ANDRE: “Next time you want to stick something in me, text me.”
TACO: “I just wish I could walk around in a cloud of it all day long. TO THE CLOUD! Like Microsoft.”
PETE: “This is like fifth base for me. This is like the equivalent of male Alan.”
DANIELLE: “Ben Roethlisberger. Has he ever done anything wrong?” PETE: “…NEVER. He is a good man.”
PETE: “I literally feel like I’ve just been deflowered.” DANIELLE: “Well, you’ll cry the first time, but every time after that it’ll be a little less painful.”
TACO: “My players are killing it. Lawrence Fitzgerald…Raymond Rice…and Came Newtown.”
TACO: “TO THE CLOUD!”
PETE: “Easy, Jason Statham.”
KEVIN: “How many loads can you transport at one time?” ANDRE: “As many as humanly possible.” JENNY: “Do you take the whole load all at once?” ANDRE: “That’s right. I take the load, hold it inside me, and I don’t let it out.” DANIELLE: “Wow, like big loads?” ANDRE: “I love big loads.” RUXIN: “Do you take a lady’s load?” ANDRE: “I’ll take a lady’s load, but a prefer a man’s load.” KEVIN: “Yeah.”
DANIELLE: “Did you guys just figure this out right now?” JENNY: “No, this is called shit-talking…and you catch on very quickly.”
KEVIN [on Jenny]: “She is not a girl, Pete.”
RUXIN: “I don’t want to see amateur theatre. It’s just a bunch of fat girls dealing with their complicated issues with dudes who are still in the closet.”
ANDRE: “James Bo-Andres are in the playoffs. License to win.”
Chris Johnson. Steven Jackson. Adrian Peterson. THE COLTS! Why can’t we have nice things?!?
Green Bay is an unstoppable force of fantasy football goodness. I’m picking up the Packers’ ball boy on the waiver wire this week, and I fully expect him to get at least 10 touchdowns this season.
But the Saints defense is terrible. I will never trust them again. Look at how Aaron Rodgers tore them apart!
Ben Roethlisberger has lost his command of the offense. He’s no longer a QB1. Why did I listen to those experts recommending him as a bargain? I’d rather have Cam Newton!
The Ravens will bowl over everyone with the mighty power of Ray Rice, crusher of kittens and unstoppable engine of fantasy points. I have no doubt.
There’s something in the water in St. Louis. Sam Bradford…hurt. Steven Jackson…hurt. Danny Amendola…hurt. My fantasy stars are broken. Back to the waiver wire…
What happened to Matt Ryan? I thought he was supposed to ascend to the highest realm of fantasy quarterbacks this season. Instead, he was Ben Roethlisberger-ed. (It’s a verb.) Will Julio Jones be enough save him?
Why are the Steelers wearing those blue uniform…oh, it’s the Bears. How did we not see this coming? I know what happened — Big Ben got married this offseason while Jay Cutler called off his engagement. WEDDINGS RUIN FANTASY FOOTBALL!
Cedric Benson? He’s the man. Look at all that yardage and a touchdown. Glad I drafted him while he was in prison!
The Browns tight ends are bound for fantasy greatness. Colt McCoy will hit them anytime they are in the end zone … but the Browns still won’t win. CURSED!
Chris Johnson has more millions than yardage. I’m ruined. Why, oh, WHY did I take him the first round? Please accept my trade request: Chris Johnson for Mike Tolbert, straight up.
See, I told you Cam Newton would work out. HE’S THE BEST QUARTERBACK ON THE PLANET! (Peyton Manning is currently recovering from surgery on the moon.)
Rex Grossman will lead the Redskins straight to the Super Bowl!
Philip Rivers will take the Chargers all the way to the Super Bowl!
Matthew Stafford will lead the Lions straight to the Super Bowl!
Michael Vick will lead the Eagles straight to to the Super Bowl!
Tarvaris Jackson will lead the Seahawks…to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. (Sorry, the Seahawks are terrible.)
The Bucs will not make the leap! Josh Freeman is a fantasy failure.
The Jags don’t need Garrard. They have Luke McCown!
The Titans could use someone more like Luke McCown.
The Giants have found their David — the Redskins.
The Cardinals have finally found a quarterback again, but he’s not quite as good as the one who started his first game against them.
Mark Sanchez is a closer! Look at that poise.
Tony Romo is not a closer! He’ll never make it to the super Bowl. Fumbles are the antithesis of poise!
What’s happening here? The sky is not falling. Just having a little fun with the first weekend of NFL football and the owner overreactions we’re all guilty of after seeing our fantasy studs exceed or fail to meet expectations. It’s only one week.
Feel free to add your own overreactions in the comments.
…and can I just say again how glad I am that football is back? I missed you terribly, NFL.
You’ll read a lot of fantasy football draft tips this time of year preaching that there is only one way to win, one quarterback worth grabbing in the first round, or one player that could change the outcome of your championship game. While there may, in fact, be one quarterback this season who could win it all for you, that’s not the only way to win.
Your fantasy football draft strategy is only the beginning, and it’s quite possible that the one player who contributes the most to your championship might not even be on your roster the day after you draft.
In this time of absolutes and must-haves pre- and mid-fantasy football draft, consider this a quick reminder that there’s more to it than the players you draft. It’s how you play the game.
Here are five ways to win that you must master to take home a championship this season. It’ll be hard to win it all unless you manage to top your league in more than one.
1. Draft the best team
Listing the draft as just one out of five ways to win your league might seem a bit ridiculous. But the draft is only the beginning, and even if you have a horrible team when you look up at that draft board, your season is not over.
The perfect roster doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, and there’s no way to predict injuries.
I’ve looked at draft boards after every draft I’ve ever completed, and the team that “wins” the draft rarely gets the championship trophy.
2. Win the waiver wire
Early in the season, there’s a ton of talent on the waiver wire. Some of the best players will go undrafted in most fantasy leagues, and they’ll be saviors for those who snag them up and start them the rest of the way. How many people won a league last season with Peyton Hillis or Michael Vick?
If you don’t draft a perfect roster, all is not lost. Just make sure you pay attention each week, and keep your eye on improvement.
Whether you’re in a league that uses a waiver wire or not, it’s also not a bad idea to put some thought into your free agent system so that you don’t reward the lazy or punish the strong. Not too severely, at least.
Every good league has a solid system in place to award free agents.
3. Make a great trade
Some fantasy players never trade. They never trust a deal, even if it improves the quality of players they put in their starting roster each week. The truth is that almost every trade involves someone losing at least temporarily. You’re taking a chance that what you’re given ends up being more valuable than what you gave up.
If a trade can make the team you start each week better, it’s often worth the risk, even if you have to overpay. That upgrade at receiver could be the difference between a win or loss in the playoffs.
Don’t be afraid to let go of your most expensive assets. Your top quarterback or stud running back might seem like they’re carrying your team, but if you can cash them in for a more balanced roster, do it. Just make sure you get the return you deserve.
4. Play your matchups perfectly
No owner gets 100 percent efficiency out of their rosters. It’s just impossible to know when your players will have their best performances. But you can try.
There are always more factors at play (injuries, coach doghouses, trades, breakout performances) than we can predict, but if you follow the news on every player on your roster, you can maximize what you get out of them to take advantage of their best games and avoid their worst.
5. Get lucky
Finally, yes, you can just get lucky. Maybe you have the easiest schedule of all your leaguemates and a clear road to the championship game. Maybe the one guy you held onto all season comes back from an injury and destroys other teams during the playoffs.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and fantasy football is one playing field that can always be leveled with a little good luck.
So why did I waste a post on this? I have to agree that it’s pretty basic. But why give you such a simple reminder (or primer) on how to play the game?
For one, a lot of people never understand all that goes into playing fantasy football each season, or they lose sight of options when their team starts to fade down the stretch.
Maybe by reading through this quick list, you’ll find a little more creativity and/or work harder this fantasy football season, even if the team you draft doesn’t immediately blow everyone out of the water. Maybe you’ll focus more on using your waiver wire pickups, even when your team is strong, or seek out trade opportunities when you need to improve your roster rather than phoning it in the rest of the way.
As you sit down at your draft table, remember that you won’t win a championship in one day. But if you manage to keep a handle on all five of these pieces to winning, you’ll have a good chance to take home a trophy.
What’s this? A blast from your past? Well, since we didn’t get a chance to get to the top scores from Week 10, we’re giving it to you now. Maybe watching your team march towards victory in Week 11 will dull the pain of these performances that killed you just seven days ago.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: 333 passing yards and 4 TDs, 80 rushing yards and 2 TDs vs. Redskins
I had clearly lost going into Monday night of last week by just four points. It was a bad week. But as a looked at my score one last time Monday just before kickoff, I saw that my opponent had done the unthinkable, the unfathomable, the un-understandable. He started the Redskins D/ST and Ryan Torain with a victory clearly assured.
Now, if you were a thinking man, you’d probably have a hard time comprehending any reason to do this, but my opponent, in this case, was actually working with some unusual, but logical reasoning.
Our dear commish had put in his head that he needed as many points as possible to compete in the total points scored race, the tiebreaker for playoffs spots in this league. So seeing that he had won, he still felt the need to start the Redskins D/ST because they had never scored negative points and because he’d also have Ryan Torain playing in the game anyway.
As we already know, that reasoning dissolved quickly. Torain struggled to loosen his hamstring before the game and was held out of the Monday night festivities, despite being declared active just minutes before the game. And Washington’s defense collapsed early and often against Michael Vick.
I needed 28 or more points from the Eagles to get to a tie. I got that much and more in the first half alone.
The 59-28 Monday night performance was one for the ages for Vick. It’s hard for me to understand how any team starting Vick could have lost Week 10, and if you didn’t start Vick…man, I bet that hurts.
That said, I don’t think we’ll see Vick perform like this again this fantasy season. After all, he’s done playing the Redskins this year. But Vick certainly established himself as one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the game. I wouldn’t consider benching him for anyone except the top quarterbacks in fantasy (Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees).
Oh, and I won my Week 10 matchup with the tiebreaker. Thank you very much, Vick.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: 350 passing yards and 3 TDs, 3 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Steelers
We’re used to seeing this kind of stat line from the Brady of old, the Brady that had Randy Moss, but this game caught most off-guard. The Patriots have traditionally performed well against the Steelers, and Belichick once again had their number in this one.
Brady dissected the Steelers’ usually stout defense and made Rob Gronkowski look like a superstar. But just like everything Belichick and the Patriots do, this fantasy production was a product of the system, and that system changes every week. You never know when Brady will go off for big points, but when the matchup is right, he’s still got it.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs: 469 passing yards and 4 TDs vs. Broncos
There’s a common theme developing in these top scores this week, or at least the ones I chose to highlight. Cassel did most of his damage during garbage time in a high-scoring affair as the Chiefs got blown out by the Broncos.
He rallied the troops to score four touchdowns, but it was all because they had to abandon the run. I’d expect Cassel to cool off as the season progresses. He just had a nice run of easy defensive matchups in recent weeks.
Keiland Williams, RB, Redskins: 80 rushing yards and 2 TDs, 4 catches for 50 receiving yards and 1 TD vs. Eagles
Shanahan could probably start himself at running back and score two touchdowns. Williams was just the latest guy to get the call. That doesn’t mean he won’t have another great game in his future.
He could as long as Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis don’t cut into his time, but with Portis back this week, I think Williams is on his way back to the shadows. Most of these points came in garbage time with the Eagles D/ST cruising towards a victory.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: 13 catches for 186 yards and 2 TDs vs. Broncos
As I noted under Cassel, Bowe’s dominance these past few weeks has been a result of easy passing matchups for the Chiefs. The schedule gets a little tougher down the stretch. So if you can unload Bowe in a trade for someone like Darren McFadden, DO IT! I’m not sure you can rely on Bowe during your fantasy playoffs.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: 133 rushing yards and 1 TD, 6 catches for 37 yards and 1 TD vs. Lions
C.J. Spiller went down with an hamstring injury, and he left all the work to Jackson against the Lions.
When he’s been given the chance, Jackson has impressed in the past. Remember his 2009 campaign? At one time, he was the top back in fantasy last season. But his matchups aren’t too pretty. We’ll have to see how much the Bills rely on him now that he’s the guy for the next few weeks.
If he really does become the unquestioned rushing force in Buffalo and if he gets plenty of targets in the passing game, he could be a great flex start for the rest of the season.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: 5 catches for 72 yards and 3 TDs vs. Steelers
The Patriots had the perfect game plan to attack the Steelers. Gronkowski was a big part of what made that plan so successful. But once again, the system is the only thing you can count on when it comes to the Patriots, and we may never see Gronkowski so involved in the offense as he was in Week 10.
Aaron Hernandez is likely to retake his role in the offense in Week 11 against the Colts, and Gronkowski, in that case, would return to being a all-or-nothing play at tight end, depending on whether he scores or not.
Don’t expect Gronkowski to get on the field this much in every game. He was part of the formation that the Patriots used to beat the Steelers, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the answer to what other teams try to do to stop Tom Brady and his crew. There’s also a good chance that the next team the Patriots face will choose to cover Gronkowski more closely.
This week’s high scores include members of teams you wouldn’t expect to produce fantasy powerhouses. The Browns? The Lions? The Raiders? Parity is the name of the game this season, as even these recently terrible franchises have produced fantasy gold.
Hillis looks like a top back the rest of the way. The Raiders continue to put up points no matter who has to catch the ball and clear the way for Darren McFadden. And the Lions continue to scare teams who don’t take them seriously.
If you had one of these scoring leaders on your roster, you should have won this week. If not…well, at least there’s hope for the future.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: 184 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 3 catches for 36 yards vs. Patriots
You have to wonder how former Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels felt watching Hillis destroy the Patriots on the ground for another former Patriots coordinator’s team. Eric Mangini certainly looks like he won on this trade. The Broncos have no running game, and the Browns are all running game with Hillis.
Now that he’s fully healthy after their bye and with Colt McCoy starting for the Browns, Hillis should continue to grind out these tough yards. As long as he can get in the end zone, he’ll produce at a high level. His schedule poses few challenges.
Next week he gets the Jets, and the only other two teams who might stand a chance at slowing him down are the Dolphins in Week 13 and the Ravens in Week 16. He also get the Steelers in Week 17 if you play your fantasy championships the last week of the year — but why, WHY are you doing that?
Green Bay Packers D/ST: 7 points against, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 TDs vs. Cowboys
The Cowboys gave up this game before the kickoff, and the Green Bay defense took advantage of Jon Kitna, who seemed like the only player other than Dez Bryant who had any interest in playing.
As many have stated throughout recent weeks, somehow the Packers manage to put together a great defensive game plan no matter how many players they lose to injury. But they hardly had to try against the Cowboys.
Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals: 10 catches for 141 yards, 2 TDs vs. Steelers
The fact that T.O. is good this year still puzzles me. He stepped into a team with a proven wide receiver and replaced him entirely (and with more success). Those who drafted him will continue to benefit from Palmer’s force-feeding of the ball to T.O., especially late in games when the Bengals are down. That happens often.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: 218 passing yards and 1 TD, 74 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Colts
Those owners who held onto Vick throughout his injury should reap the rewards now. He stepped onto the field and right back into his previous form. Other than two matchups against the Giants, the Eagles schedule should be a big bag o’ fun for the Eagles.
Circle Week 13 if it’s the first week of your fantasy playoffs. The Eagles face the Texans very terrible defense at home in Philly.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: 240 passing yards and 2 TDs, 1 INT, 11 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Jets
Stafford surprised many by dismantling the Jets defense right up until he got hurt again. That’s right: Hurt. AGAIN. Stafford could have been a savior for many a fantasy team late in the season, and this showdown against the Jets only proved how talented he is (and how good he can make the Lions). But it looks like he’ll go back on ice for a few weeks.
Stafford’s fantasy owners have to hope that Shaun Hill is healthy enough to start Week 10. Drew Stanton just doesn’t cut it as a Stafford stand-in.
Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, Chargers: 4 catches for 111 yards, 2 TDs vs. Texans
Yeah, you try to say that. I’m glad I just have to type it. But Seyi Ajirotutu showed up big for those who took a chance on him as a sleeper.
After the Chargers bye, he’ll probably be relegated to a lesser role with Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Legedu Naanee likely to return to the field. Vincent Jackson will also soon be in the mix. But those who benefited from Ajirotutu’s big Week 9 should hold onto him if possible. Philip Rivers might not soon forget his big play potential.
Does the old man still have it? I don’t think so. But he showed signs of life this week against the Cardinals in willing the Vikings to a win in overtime. The rest of his schedule shouldn’t be so kind — other than possibly the Bills. It’s hard to trust Favre as a fantasy quarterback down the stretch as the games matter more than ever.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders: 6 catches for 148 yards, 1 kickoff return TD vs. Chiefs
Jacoby Ford is proof of one thing: ANYONE is better than throwing to Darrius Heyward-Bey. With every receiving weapon for the Raiders out due to injury, DHB still managed to catch nothing.
On the other hand/side of the field, Ford emerged as a great deep weapon, which could mean he keeps the speedster role when Louis Murphy returns to the lineup. He’s on bye but worth a pickup this week, for sure. Other than against the Steelers in Week 11, the Raiders could make good use of Ford throughout the rest of their schedule.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers: 42 rushing yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 26 yards and 1 TD vs. Cowboys
The Packers defense created so many turnovers that the Packers had to run the ball, and Jackson proved his worth in the short-yardage situations he was given. Those who paid a high price for him early in the season (as I did) can only hope that the Packers look to develop their ground game as the weather turns cold late in the season.
Clearly, Jackson will put points on the board when he’s given a chance, but this game against the Cowboys was not the norm. Let’s see what they do against a real opponent (if you can call the Vikings that) after their bye week.
Believe It: This was not the stat line Reggie Wayne owners wanted to see, but without Pierre Garcon, Peyton Manning locked onto Collie while Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne got most of the attention from the Denver defense. I don’t expect Collie to get this lucky every week, but with two strong games under his belt, he should be owned in all leagues.
Believe It: The 400+ passing yards countered Rivers’ two interceptions, and that’s the kind of game he’ll have to have as long as the Chargers’ special teams continues to give up two touchdowns each game.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: 262 passing yards, 3 TDs
Believe It (in Matchups): Flacco finally had a good performance, thanks to Anquan Boldin and the Browns’ defense. Now that we know what he’s capable of, we will have to see if he can keep up this level of production. I don’t see him living up to the QB1-hype surrounding him this offseason, but he’ll make a decent matchup play the rest of this year.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets: 256 passing yards, 3 TDs
Believe It (in Matchups): Sanchez had another three touchdown performance on Sunday…so is it horrible of me to still not buy it? He’s a promising young quarterback, but he’s still a matchup play in my book. I doubt L.T. would have signed for a team that just planned to become a pass-first offense like the Chargers were without him. If you have Sanchez as a QB2, congrats. He looks good to go in that role or as part of a QB-by-committee.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs: 250 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Not Buying It: Cassel showed up big in Week 3 for the Chiefs, but I can’t take it as a sign of things to come just yet. He’s still not a very good quarterback, and his success Sunday might have been more about the complete and utter failure of the 49ers.
Believe It: I immediately regret my decision to wait on picking up Moore after Reggie Bush was injured. Moore should be on the field more often now and showed what he can do with that playing time against the Falcons Sunday. Drew Brees trusts him, and I do, too.
Believe It (At Home): “The 12th Man” lives again in Seattle. They may be garbage on the road, but in Seattle with Leon Washington returning kicks, the Seahawks D/ST appears to be unstoppable. They’ve produced double-digit fantasy points in both their home games thus far this season.
Believe It: I thought Hillis might make a decent sleeper at the beginning of the season. It looks like he’s woken up now. Keep in mind that this performance was against the Ravens. It’s not like the Browns have a lot going on in their offense to distract a defensive unit like the Ravens, so there’s a chance Hillis could do even more with what he’s given against a lesser defense.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: 105 rushing yards, 1 TD, 2 catches for 17 yards
Believe It: Even with Michael Bush available, McFadden continued to get the majority of the carries. I still don’t think McFadden keeps this job all year. Injury or Bush’s improving health will force the Raiders to take some of his carries away, but if you have him, you should continue to ride the lightning while you can.
Roy E. Williams, WR, Cowboys: 5 catches for 117 yards, 2 TDs
Not Buying It (Entirely): Williams finally earned that contract he got when he first arrived in Dallas. His second touchdown was late in the game when the Texans D/ST has all but quit, but whether he earned it or not, it’s good to see him producing and to know that the Dallas offense will continue to involve him, especially in a game that mattered so much. He makes for a decent sleeper wide receiver — sad that a starter on a high-powered passing attack is a sleeper, but what are you gonna do? — moving forward since he could keep his role as a starter all year long, even with all the excitement for Dez Bryant.
Not Buying It: The Broncos have said that they will have a different top receiver every week, and it certainly seems that way. The only two I’d rely on are Demaryius Thomas and Jabar Gaffney, and I don’t even trust them a whole lot right now. Lloyd’s nice, but without a cemented role, I just don’t think you can ever start him with confidence.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: 3 catches for 100 yards, 2 TDs
Believe It: Another sleeper awakened this weekend. No more “buy lows” here. Wallace should get even better once Big Ben returns.
Believe It: Sanchez won’t throw three touchdowns every week, but it’s telling that he threw the first two to Keller. Clearly, he trusts Keller at the goal line. That will go a long way in making Keller a legit fantasy tight end this season.
Not worth mentioning here, but for those of you keeping score at home, the obvious ones for this week were Michael Vick, Anquan Boldin, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Chris Johnson.