Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Week 16 Pickups

Hopefully you’re still in the playoffs.

I am.

Week 16 Pickups

Aaron Hernandez     (Available in 39% of leagues)
Hernandez takes on the Bills this week who rank in the bottom three of the league in points given up to tight ends, and however spontaneous the tight end situation is for New England, Hernandez is the safest play between him and teammate Rob Gronkowski.

Marshawn Lynch      (Available in 59% of leagues)
The Seattle running game isn’t what many expected, especially when Pete Carroll brought in Leon Washington, LenDale White (cut) and Marshawn Lynch to go along with Justin Forsett, but if Lynch is in for a sleeper week, it could be this one. (If you listened to me when Lynch played Carolina in Week 13, you’d trust me here as well). Tampa Bay ranks 29th against the run while Lynch has four touchdowns in the past three weeks.

Mike Sims-Walker    (available in 46% of leagues)
Very simple strategic thinking here: MSW has three touchdowns in the past two games and faces Washington this week -- the NFL’s 30th ranked pass defense.

Josh Freeman            (available in 33% of leagues)
Freeman is hot by Tampa Bay’s passing standards. He’s no 300-yard, three-touchdown performance kind of quarterback, but give the second-year man credit. He has eight touchdowns and only one interception in the past six games and faces Seattle, the 29th ranked pass defense at home this week.

Robert Meachem       (available in 48% of leagues)
Meachem is neither reliable or consistent or any other word that comes to memory that depicts his rollercoaster of a weekly fantasy performance, but I’m betting this week, that all changes. With only one catch in the Week 3 matchup against Atlanta, he had only one catch for five yards. Atlanta is 20th against the pass. It’s a gamble, but so is every other week.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week 15 Start'em or Sit'em

Start’em in Week 15

Darren McFadden                (vs. Denver)
There’s something about McFadden exposing horrendous rush defenses and then playing doormat to average to good ones. Against defenses ranked 1st to 15th, Run DMF has TOTALED just 61 fantasy points -- six games for an average of just over 10 -- but against the bottom half of the league, he has totaled 131 fantasy points -- five games for an average of just over 26 points per. Indianapolis, you ask? They’re 29th against the rush.

Jonathon Stewart                  (vs. Arizona)
Stewart is back and he’s rolling. His last two games against the 20th and 23rd rush defenses, respectively, produced a combined 190 yards rushing and a TD. This week he gets Arizona (30th).

Mike Goodson                       (vs. Arizona)
Three touchdowns in his past three games and he should have another against the Cardinals. Although he’s in a dual back system, Carolina isn’t relying much on Jimmy Clausen these days.

Jon Kitna                               (vs. Washington)
Seven total touchdowns in his past three games, Kitna, at home this week, gets the 29th ranked pass defense, and while opposing quarterbacks haven’t had consistent numbers against the Skins in the past six weeks (because as bad as they are against the pass, they’re equally as bad when facing the run), Dallas hasn’t been a run-first team this season.

Ronnie Brown                       (@ Buffalo)
Even though Brown hasn’t had a 90-yard rushing game this season, one of his best performances on the season was against the Bills in Week 1 (18 carries, 65 yards, TD) who still rank 32nd against the run.

Ricky Williams                      (@ Buffalo)
See Ricky run and run Ricky will.

Pierre Garcon                        (vs. Jacksonville)
He missed the matchup against the Jags earlier this season, but with three scores in the past two games, and going up against the 28th ranked pass defense, Garcon should have a solid game.

Malcom Floyd                        (vs. San Francisco)
Like Garcon, Floyd has found the endzone three times in the past two contests, even with Vincent Jackson returning to the lineup. My motto: if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it and right now, Floyd is working.

Mike Williams                        (vs. Atlanta)
Just hear me out. Matt Hasselbeck is as reliable as Firestone circa four years ago, but just because I’m not on the quarterback’s bandwagon, doesn’t mean I can’t be on one of his wide receivers. Coming off a right ankle injury, Williams had back-to-back 100-yard outings – one of which was against the NFL’s fifth ranked pass defense in New Orleans – before going down. The weather isn’t supposed to be stellar in Seattle (surprised, right?), but the Seahawks will be losing and the fastest way to catch up is…to pass, especially to your favorite target.

New England D/ST               (vs. Green Bay)
34 fantasy points in the past two games, as long as Aaron Rodgers isn’t starting, I’m all about New England.

Sit’em in Week 15

Alex Smith                             (@ San Diego)
Yes, they’re still in the NFC West (turtle) race. Yes, Smith is coming off a 255-yard three-TD performance against a horrendous looking Seattle team, but under the lights against the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense, Smith should find himself on your bench.

LaDainian Tomlinson           (@ Pittsburgh)
No running on the Steelers.

Santonio Holmes                    (@ Pittsburgh)
Pittsburgh isn’t so hot against the pass this season (giving up 233 yards per game), but this matchup has a little more than stats in it. Mark Sanchez couldn’t start for a JV high school team the way he’s been playing recently, but with Ike Taylor on the former Steelers’ Super Bowl MVP, I don’t think so.

Rashard Mendenhall            (vs. New York Jets)
Two straight sub 60-yard performances, Week 15 will more than likely be his third. The Jets are third against the run and the weather somehow will reflect the battle between these two teams: rough and rugged (35 degrees and expected snow showers).

Brian Westbrook                   (vs. San Diego)
Two straight weeks of having two days off due to “veteran rest,” isn’t a great sign, even though he’s not injured. However, after a short week and facing the fourth ranked rush defense isn’t what you’re hoping for.

Seattle D/ST                           (vs. Atlanta)
Outside of the negative two point performance against the Giants in Week 9, the Seahawks have compiled 70 fantasy points in the five other home games this year. Very solid, however, when you struggle against the run and the team you’re facing excels in that same department, it should be a long day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Playoff Pickups

Kenny Britt                (Available in 61% of leagues)
I only like Britt if Kerry Collins is starting. As for rookie, Rusty Smith? Well, he couldn’t throw in the towel, let alone the football. Collins is a season veteran who knows how to get the ball to his playmakers and before Britt went down he had seven touchdowns in seven games. Britt has two matchups left out of three that find him against two of the lower-tier secondaries in Houston and Kansas City.

David Garrard          (Available in 55% of leagues)
You always, always want to have at least the one or two players on your bench that are fighting play in and play out down the stretch, and for the Jaguars that player is Garrard. With only a one-game lead in their division, expect Garrard and Co. to be very efficient over the last month of play.

Mike Thomas             (Available in 54% of leagues)
Thomas and Sims-Walker have been interchangeable this season, but with consecutive Week 16 and 17 matchups against the 29th and 31st worst rated pass defenses, both receivers should be busy at work trying to hold onto their AFC South lead.

Mike Sims-Walker    (Available in 37% of leagues)
Five touchdowns in nine games played this season, the second-year man should see that ratio increase over the following three weeks.

Josh Freeman            (Available in 40% of leagues)
A near 3-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio on the season (17:6), Freeman will get multiple chances to get over that hump when he takes on the Lions (13th against the pass) and Seattle (30th) in consecutive weeks at home.

Kellen Winslow         (Available in 23% of leagues)
With two of his three remaining opponents struggling against the pass (Detroit and Seattle), Winslow’s is a sneaky pickup down the stretch for your team.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 14 Start'em or Sit'em: In the 'Driver's seat

Start’em in Week 14

Donald Driver                       (@ Detroit)
            Since 2007, Driver has been a Lions’ killer. 40 catches, 648 yards and four touchdowns in six games against Detroit, Driver makes the top of my start list this week.

Knowshon Moreno               (@ Arizona)
            As bad as the Cardinals are against the pass…they’re even worse against the run where starting running backs the last five weeks against the Cardinals have average over five yards per carry (77 rushes, 392 yards).

Kyle Orton                             (@ Arizona)
            Don’t let last week’s performance get you down. Orton has a very favorable matchup this week against the 25th ranked pass defense in the Cardinals.

Brian Westbrook                   (vs. Seattle)
            Westbrook had a down game against the Packers last week (that was because Troy Smith spent the entire second half throwing), but this week against a Seattle defense that gives up over 120 yards a game on the ground, Westbrook is in a good position. Don’t be surprise either if Anthony Dixon gets 10 carries for 50-60 yards and a score.

Pick a Raven                          (@ Houston)
            We’re talking Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Todd Heap (if he’s good to go) and Derrick Mason. Houston’s defense is what Yao Ming is to a Mini Cooper: it just never works out.

Mike Wallace                         (vs. Cincinnati)
            Last time out Wallace had five catches for 110 yards and a score. I like him in a repeat performance against a Cincinnati defense that has given up 125 points in the past three games.

LeGarrette Blount                (@ Washington)
            Washington is as good as stopping the run as Tampa is performing it. The Bucs backfield averages 4.4 yards per carry and against the 28th ranked rush defense, Blount heads that pack.

Jacoby Ford                           (@ Jacksonville)
            What would this list be without a deep sleeper? (Last week it was Marshawn Lynch who had 80+ yards rushing and 3 TD’s – his best fantasy performance of the year. You’re welcome.) Ford -- who has three scores in the past three games -- has been Jason Campbell’s deep threat and a special teams stud and going against the 27th ranked pass defense in Jacksonville, I like Ford.

The Arizona Backfield         (vs. Denver)
            Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower: I’d start them both if give the opportunity. Derek Anderson is not a good passer. That’s about as nice as I can put it without being censored. So what does head coach Ken Whisenhunt do? He exploits the 31st ranked rush defense in the Broncos.

James Starks                          (@ Detroit)
            The name’s Starks, James Starks and he’s ready to become a regular on everyone’s late season radar. Breaking out last week (18 carries, 73 yards), Starks will get plenty of looks this week against a Detroit front line that surrenders 127 yards per game (25th in the NFL).

Jason Snelling                        (@ Carolina)
            Michael Turner is the must-start here, of course, but with Atlanta building their lead throughout the game and with Snelling’s big-back abilities on third down, I like Snelling in a rather expanded roll this week against a Panthers’ run defense that ranks 27th in the league.

Michael Crabtree                  (@ Seattle)
            Troy Smith’s No. 1 target -- in addition to Vernon Davis, who will also have a big game --- Crabtree faces the 30th ranked pass defense at home.

Sit’em in Week 14

David Garrard                      (vs. Oakland)
            Hard to throw against a team that’s ninth against the pass (207 yards per game) and a defense that is 1st in the league in sacks (36.0), especially when your own offensive line is the 10th worst.

Matt Cassel                            (@ San Diego)
Cassel was only 10-of-22 for 68 yards and a TD in the season opener against the Chargers, and that was at home, but now, on the road and with something to play for, the NFL’s top team against the pass will look to repeat their performance from a few months ago.

The Miami Backfield            (vs. New York Jets)
            There are reports about Ricky starting over Ronnie. I say ‘who cares?’ They’ll still split carries. The Jets only surrendered a solid game to BGE last Monday because it was garbage time in the 45-3 blowout.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis          (@ Chicago)
            It turns out that if you’re not first, then you’re actually not last. I’m talking about Chicago being 2nd in terms of stopping the run, per the Ricky Bobby notation. (The Bears hold opponents to 84.9 yards per game while Pittsburgh is 1st at 62.2.) Also, the Weather Man says there’s a 70% chance of snow.

Mike Thomas                         (vs. Oakland)
            The Jaguars No. 1 wideout vs. the NFL’s No. 1 corner in Nnamdi Asomugha (if he plays)

Chad Ochocinco                    (@ Pittsburgh)
            Eight catches for 98 yards (no TD’s) against the Steelers in his past three contests. Ehh...

Cedric Benson                       (@ Pittsburgh)
            “You should just fake an injury. It’s impossible to run against the Steelers.” – Ray Rice
Mike Goodson                       (vs. Atlanta)
A)    Jonathan Stewart is back and performing very well and B) Atlanta has only given up five rushing touchdowns this year (T-2nd in the NFL).

Dwayne Bowe                        (@ San Diego)
            See Cassel, Matt.

Felix Jones                             (vs. Philadelphia)
            Did you know that Jones only has one touchdown this year? It wasn’t even a rushing one either. Don’t expect that streak to break this week.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Week 14 (and beyond) Pickups

Brian Westbrook         (available in 29% of leagues)
            Don’t take a lot out of the shellacking the 49ers took on the road against Green Bay. Being behind a large percentage of the time, Westbrook wasn’t used too often, but with matchups against Seattle, St. Louis, and Arizona, the savvy veteran should produce.

James Starks                (available in 93% of leagues)
            Who? -- I know, right? But don’t hate on the rookie. Also, don’t expect a running back change from Brandon Jackson to Starks, but do expect that Starks’ number of carries will continue to be at a starter’s level (18 carries, 73 yards last week vs. San Francisco).

Earl Bennett                (available in 93% of leagues)
            Bennett – Jay Cutler’s favorite target at Vanderbilt – has had double digit fantasy performances in the past two weeks and with the offensive line starting to protect Cutler a bit more than we’ve been used to seeing, Bennett’s go routes will be called a lot more often from offensive coordinator, Mike Martz.

Atlanta D/ST               (available in 73% of leagues)
            They shouldn’t be your first choice for a starting defense, but if you’re in a pickle one week just remember that they have two remaining games against the Carolina Panthers.

Tashard Choice           (available in 87% of leagues)
            With Marion Barber out, Choice ran 18 times for 100 yards and a TD against a porous Colts’ defense. As long as Barber is injured, Choice is a solid backup play.

Josh Freeman              (available in 43% of leagues)
            With three of his remaining four matchups against the 16th, 29th, and 30th ranked pass defenses, the second-year signal caller should have plenty of upside down the stretch.

Javarris James              (available in 96% of leagues)
            The Colts don’t run the ball. Actually, they aren’t passing the ball like the Colts of old either, so fair game. But, whenever the Colts are inside the five, they do hand the ball to James who has five touchdowns on just 28 carries all year long.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 13: Start'em or Sit'em

Start’em in Week 13

Kevin Boss                                         (vs. Washington)
            Who’s the Boss? Well, uh, ‘Boss’ is. Three touchdowns in the past four games and he faces the 29th ranked pass defense this week at home in the Redskins. I like him until Smith and Nicks return, then it’s all bets are off.

Derrick Mason                                  (vs. Pittsburgh)
            Averaging a pedestrian 52 yards per game so far this season, Mason has a terrific track record in recent years against Pittsburgh. In his past three games he’s totaled 20 catches for 219 yards and a TD and while the Steelers are near-impossible to run against, they rank 22nd in the league against the pass.

Mike Williams                                    (vs. Atlanta)
            Four catches for 89 yards and a score in his last game against the Falcons, Atlanta still continues to struggle against the pass (27th in the NFL).

Sam Bradford                                   (@ Arizona)
10 touchdowns and only one interception in the past five games, Bradford has a good matchup against 25th ranked Arizona.

Steven Jackson                                  (@ Arizona)
            Did you see what Brian Westbrook did to the Cardinals?

Mike Tolbert                                      (vs. Oakland)
            The Raiders are 28th against the run and Tolbert is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games.

Eli Manning                                       (vs. Washington)
            Leading the league in touchdown passes (23) should extend that mark against a porous Redskins’ secondary.

The Vikings’ Backfield                     (vs. Buffalo)
            Even if Peterson plays, I like Gerhart.

Marshawn Lynch                              (vs. Carolina)
            Deep, deep sleeper here in Lynch considering the Seahawks don’t run the ball well at all, but if it’s one thing that Carolina struggles with, it’s the run and Lynch gets the goal line carries.

Mario Manningham                          (vs. Washington)
            Manning’s No. 1 wideout, yet again this week.

Mike Goodson                                   (@ Seattle)
            Goodson has done a great job of taking advantage of struggling rush defenses. Seattle fits that mold this week.

Brian Hartline/Davone Bess             (vs. Cleveland)
            There’s something about them this week. Call it a feeling and call the 19th ranked pass defense an indication that strengthens that feeling.

Seattle D/ST
            Outside of the negative two points they put up against the offensive-minded Giants, the Seahawks’ single game fantasy totals at home this year are 19, 15, 16 and 8.

Sit’em in Week 13

Jon Kitna                                           (@ Indianapolis)
            As bad as the Colts offensive line is playing, it’s their defensive line that has been stepping it up.

Carson Palmer                                  (vs. New Orleans)
            The Saints are No. 2 against the pass and Palmer’s offensive line has given up 10 sacks in the past four games. (One of those games Palmer wasn’t sacked at all.)

The Dolphins’ Backfield                   (vs. Cleveland)
            Pick a Dolphin, any Dolphin.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis                      (vs. New York Jets)
            I can see the ‘Lawfirm’ getting a goal line score, but his overall numbers won’t be pretty

Ray Rice                                             (vs. Pittsburgh)
            No running on the Steelers. You should know this by now.

Anquan Boldin                                  (vs. Pittsburgh)
            You can throw on the Steelers, but when it comes to the No.1 receivers against them, they’re very sharp. Same case goes for facing the Jets, Raiders, etc.

Hines Ward                                        (@ Baltimore)
            Hasn’t had a TD against the Ravens since ’04

Tennessee D/ST                                 (vs. Jacksonville)
            Single-digit fantasy totals in four-straight contests, with the Titans’ struggling offense constantly going three-and-out, their defense has been on the field a lot more than they’re used to.

Brandon Marshall                             (vs. Cleveland)
            I’m still not sold on him yet -- with his injury and lack of chemistry with Tyler Thigpen                 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 12: Feelin Hot, Hot, Hot....or Not, Not, Not

Playoff time is just around the corner and, at times, it can be better to start one player who’s on a hot streak, rather than just a big name. Since Week 8 (excluding bye weeks), here’s who’s hot & who’s not:

Who’s Hot

Dwayne Bowe. It’s very simple: No receiver has had more yards or touchdowns in the past five weeks than Bowe (40 catches, 544 yards, 9 TD). Only two other wideouts have even eclipsed the 500-yard mark (Atlanta’s Roddy White and Green Bay’s Greg Jennings).

Tom Brady. My choice for MVP, he leads the league in touchdown passes (23) and interceptions for starting quarterbacks (4) -- with at least 8 starts -- and he’s doing this all with….Deion Branch? There’s no Randy Moss and Wes Welker isn’t having a typical year, by his standards. Oh, and funny thing about those four interceptions thrown: they only came in two games this season.

Peyton Hillis. He has eight total touchdowns in the past five games, is fourth overall in the league in receiving yards (414) and is one of only two running backs in the league with 11+ rushing touchdowns on the year (Arian Foster).

Michael Turner. Four 100-yard games in the past five contests (three straight), Turner is averaging 23 carries for 102 yards and a TD during that stretch.

Mike Tolbert. Nine touchdowns on the year (four in his past five games), Tolbert and Hillis have been the most valuable free agent pickups this season.

Greg Jennings. Outside of Bowe and White, nobody has been over the 500-yard level in the past five games and with one of the best quarterbacks throwing him the rock, his numbers should continue to impress.

Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has 543 total yards (313 rushing, 230 receiving) and four total touchdowns.

Fred Jackson. Since he took over for the departed Marshawn Lynch, Jackson has averaged 18 carries and 89 yards per game. Through the air, the product of Coe College also has just under 200 yards receiving and two scores during that stretch.

Chicago D/ST. 65 fantasy points in the past five games, the Bears have only had one sub double-digit performance and it was this past week against the Eagles. They have tallied 14 sacks, forced 14 fumbles nine interceptions.

Matt Cassel. 4th in overall quarterback rating (99.7) for starting signal callers, Cassel to Bowe has been this year’s best QB-WR combo. Cassel has 13 TD’s to only one INT in the past five games (averaging 252 yards passing per game).

Who’s Not

Dustin Keller. Averaging a pedestrian 37 yards in the past five games (15 catches), Keller hasn’t found the endzone since Week 4.

Anquan Boldin. 19 catches in the past five contests Boldin’s last four game totals are as followed: 27, 29, 50 and 28. The Ravens may be hot, but Boldin is not.

*Vernon Davis. Davis has two big catches in the past five games that total 91 yards. That’s the good. The bad? The rest of his yardage totals 112 yards. Not to mention two of the past three games have equated to two catches.

Brandon Marshall. Zero 100-yard performances in the past five weeks (he was injured in Week 12 against Oakland), Marshall is averaging 45 yards since a 10-catch, 127-yard outburst on Oct. 6 against Green Bay.

Reggie Wayne. Thought you’d never see him on this list? Guess again. It’s not Wayne’s fault. It’s not even Peyton Manning’s fault. It’s the offensive lines. Manning’s favorite target only has more sub 50-yard games than 100-yard games in his past five outings.

Jahvid Best. With Kevin Smith back on IR, Best’s toe has gotten…well…the ‘best’ of him. His highest fantasy output in the past five weeks: 8. And that was at home against the 31st ranked defense in Washington.

Zach Miller. One score in the past week and change, Miller has a grand total of 9 catches in five weeks. Five.

LaDainian Tomlinson. How good has LT been since taking over the reins for the Jets? He hasn’t surpassed 60+ rushing yards in any of the past five.

Tennessee D/ST. Don’t be fooled by them being the 4th ranked fantasy defense (103 points). The biggest problem with the Titans not exceeding 6+ fantasy points in four of the past five games: their offense. Think about it. Sometimes the best defense is a great offense and vice versa.

*(Stats acquired before Monday night’s matchup against Arizona)

Here’s a look at how Week 12 went:

The ‘Wife List’:
(Because she always right, remember?)

Dwayne Bowe: 13 catches, 170 yards, 3 TD                                     (35 fantasy points)
Maurice Morris: 9 carries, 55 yards, 2 TD; 5 catches, 20 yards          (19 fantasy points)
Mike Tolbert: 26 carries, 103 yards, TD; 2 catches, 15 yards            (17 fantasy points)
Kevin Boss: 3 catches, 74 yards, TD                                              (13 fantasy points)
Shaun Hill: threw for 285 yards, TD, 2 INT; 4 rushes, 23 yards           (13 fantasy points)
Mario Manningham: 3 catches, 61 yards, TD                                    (12 fantasy points)
Brandon Jacobs: 14 carries, 87 yards                                                (8 fantasy points)

Terrell Owens: 3 catches, 17 yards                                                     (1 fantasy point)
Nate Washington: catch, 10 yards                                                      (1 fantasy point)
Zach Miller: catch, 6 yards                                                                 (0 fantasy points)

The ‘Fullback List’:
(Because they never get the credit they deserve)

LeSean McCoy: 10 carries, 53 yards; 8 catches, 67 yards                  (11 fantasy points)
Cleveland D/ST: 23 points allowed, 3 sacks, INT                                (6 fantasy points)

The ‘D’oh! List’:
(Dedicated to one, Homer Simpson)

Jay Cutler: threw for 247 yards, 4 TD                                                (25 fantasy points)
Fred Jackson: 12 carries, 59 yards; 5 catches, 109 yards, TD            (21 fantasy points)
Danny Woodhead: 8 carries, 32 yards; 2 catches, 13 yards               (4 fantasy points)