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Week 13: Start-Sit (Thanksgiving Edition)

November 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Here are some start-sit recommendations for the Thanksgiving day games:

START:

QB Tony Romo (DAL) vs. SEA: Do not be fooled by how closely Seattle played the Redskins. They are not very good.

QB Kurt Warner (ARI) @ PHI: Always start him.

QB Donovan McNabb (PHI) vs. ARI: Despite his benching last week, I think McNabb will play well against an Arizona secondary that can be very friendly to opposing QBs.

RB Marion Barber (DAL) vs. SEA: See Romo, Tony.

RB Chris Johnson (TEN) @ DET: Johnson should get back to his high-scoring ways against the Lions.

RB Tim Hightower (ARI) @ PHI: Only 11 carries last week, but he is clearly the go-to RB. Should score a TD.

WR Terrell Owens (DAL) vs. SEA: See Romo, Tony.

WR Roy Williams (DAL) vs. SEA: See Romo, Tony.

WR Anquan Boldin (ARI) @ PHI: See Warner, Kurt.

WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ PHI: See Warner, Kurt.

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI) vs. ARI: I think he will do well. Should score against a fairly soft Arizona secondary.

TE Bo Scaife (TEN) vs. DET: Probably the only Titans pass catcher worth starting.

SIT:

QB Kerry Collins (TEN) @ DET: They will run the ball more than they will pass, I think.

QB Daunte Culppeper (DET) vs. TEN: Small hands. Fumbles too much. Stupid TD celebration. Stay away.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) vs. DAL: Dallas does not have a great pass defense, but Hasselbeck has not looked all that sharp yet since his return.

RB LenDale White (TEN) @ DET: He might score a TD, so start him if you are desperate. But his role has been diminishing in this offense, which concerns me.

RB Kevin Smith (DET) vs. TEN: Not only is he going up against a very tough Tennessee defense, but he has an injured shoulder.

RB Julius Jones (SEA) @ DAL: Only two carries last week. Will not get revenge against his former team.

RB Maurice Morris (SEA) @ DAL: Not likely to repeat last week’s performance (unlike his teammate Jones).

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI) vs. ARI: Too many injury issues. He has not been effective lately.

WR Justin Gage (TEN) @ DET: See Collins, Kerry.

TE Jason Witten (DAL) vs. SEA: By putting him on this list (and on the bench in one of my leagues), I am almost guaranteeing that he is going to blow up, but it is clear by watching him play that he is not 100% after his rib injury. And until he is, he will not put up the numbers that we got used to early in the year. Hopefully he will get healthy soon. Real soon.

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Week 13: Waiver Wire

November 25, 2008 Leave a comment

The playoffs are right around the corner, so it is time to make some moves to set yourself up for a championship run.

When the playoffs are close, I like to adjust my strategy. Earlier in the year, I like to pick up some flyers (i.e. “sleepers”) and see if they work out and can help my team win some games. But later in the year, I usually avoid taking those chances. Not only are most so-called “sleepers” already on someone else’s roster, but the potential value is outweighed by the opportunity costs associated with losing a roster spot you could otherwise use for depth.

So, when the playoffs are near, I usually try to add the real-life backup to my key players. For example, I have Marion Barber in one league, so I am going to add his backup, Tashard Choice. If Barber happens to get hurt, Choice should perform fairly well in his place, which means my chances of winning in the playoffs are not completely destroyed, even though I lost my best player.

By now, your rosters should be set up pretty well, but here are some names to consider adding if they are available in your league:

QB Tyler Thigpen (KC): I have talked about him before and he continues to play well.

RB Warrick Dunn (TB): Starter RB Earnest Graham is gone for the year, and Dunn performed well in his absence last week. He could be a good option going forward.

RB Peyton Hillis (DEN): Even with RB Tatum Bell in the mix, it was Hillis who got most of the yards and the TD. He should do well enough down the stretch to warrant a roster spot, and is worth a start against weaker defenses.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): In his first real action back since his toe injuries kept him sidelined, McFadden scored 2 TDs. Although RB Justin Fargas got more carries and more yards, McFadden was definitely involved.

RB Kevin Faulk (NE): It is tough to predict who will do well in New England, but Faulk remains involved enough in the passing game to make him worth a roster spot.

RB Leon Washington (NYJ): He does not get many carries, but he is explosive and is a threat to score each game. Add him, but be judicious with when you put him in your lineup.

WR Mark Bradley (KC): I have talked up Bradley before in this space, and he continues to perform pretty well in KC. WR Dwayne Bowe is still the main guy, and TE Tony Gonzalez is always involved, but Bradley still gets enough looks to be worth a roster spot.

WR Ted Ginn (MIA): The Dolphins lost WR Greg Camarillo for the year, which means Ginn should get more looks.

WR Davone Bess (MIA): See Ginn, Ted.

TE Kevin Boss (NYG): After posting zero catches last week, he came through this week with another TD (giving him 4 in his last 5 games). Considering last week was against the Ravens, we will give him a pass. He should do well down the stretch.

TE John Carlson (SEA): Although he has not looked that great, QB Matt Hasselbeck is back, which does improve the value of Carlson.

Week 12: Friday Injury Report

November 21, 2008 Leave a comment

QB Brady Quinn (CLE): Quinn (finger) is expected to play this week. Advice: Quinn broke the index finger on his throwing hand, but is not expected to miss any time.

RB Steven Jackson (STL): Jackson (thigh) is out this week (again). Advice: RB Antonio Pittman will start in place of Jackson, although he is not a great start against the Bears.

RB Brandon Jacobs (NYG): Jacobs (knee) is probable this week. Advice: The MRI on his knee did not show any damage, but his playing status for this week is unclear. He seems to think he will play, but either way, he will not be 100%. I would stay away. Look for RB Derrick Ward and RB Ahmad Bradshaw to get more work.

RB Clinton Portis (WAS): Portis (knee) sat out of practice all week. Advice: Portis showed last week against Dallas that he is one of the toughest guys in the NFL. He could get pulled if the Redskins are beating up on the Seahawks, but I expect him to play.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): Westbrook (ribs, ankle, knee) missed practice all week. Advice: Even if he does play, he has an awful matchup against the Ravens, and RB Correll Buckhalter is going to get some extra work. Unless you are desperate, I would stay away.

RB Reggie Bush (NO): Bush (knee) was expected to return this week, but now his status is unclear. Advice: Even if he does return, he clearly is not 100%, so I would wait another week (or two).

WR Roddy White (ATL):White (back) is listed as questionable this week. Advice: i expect white to play, but he is up against a tough matchup and is fighting a back injury, so I would consider benching him.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND): Wayne (ankle) tweaked his ankle injury last week against Houston but is expected to play against SD. Advice: Start him. SD is weak against the pass.

TE Kellen Winslow (CLE): Winslow (shoulder) is questionable this week. Advice: You might want to consider other options given his injury.


Week 12: Sit

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

QB Philip Rivers (SD) vs. IND: Rivers is good, but Indy allows the least points to fantasy QBs. Start him if you have no other reasonable options, but lower your expectations.

QB Brett Favre (NYJ) @ TEN: Favre has gone two whole games without an INT. So what? He has not played any good defenses lately. But Tennessee is very stout against the pass, so I expect Favre to struggle.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (CIN) @ PIT: Pittsburgh is just too good on defense.

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. CAR: Carolina has a pretty good pass defense, so do not expect much from the rookie.

QB Donovan McNabb (PHI) @ BAL: Baltimore is very good on defense, and McNabb has not looked sharp lately. Plus, he might be without Westbrook.

QB Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. PHI: Flacco has been pretty solid lately, but Philly is a tough matchup. He played better than expected last week against a tough Giants defense, but this week is another tough game.

QB Daunte Culpepper (DET) vs. TB: He was a hot waiver wire addition this week, but he has a tough matchup against the Bucs.

Other QBs to sit:
QB Trent Edwards (BUF) @ CLE
QB Marc Bulger (STL) vs. CHI
QB Jamarcus Russell (OAK) @ DEN
QB Jake Delhomme (CAR) @ ATL
QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) vs. WAS

RB Tim Hightower (ARI) vs. NYG: The Giants are just too strong upfront.

RB Kevin Smith (DET) vs. TB: I was tempted to suggest starting Smith, who has been playing very well lately. But Tampa Bay is just too solid upfront. Consider him if you have no other options.

RB Cedric Benson (CIN) @ PIT: Yeah, right.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI) @ BAL: There are concerns about Westbrook being injured, and despite what the Giants did last week, it is very tough to run on the Ravens. Similarly, if Westbrook cannot go, RB Correll Buckhalter makes a poor start.

RB Willis McGahee (BAL), RB Ray Rice (BAL) vs. PHI: Just as it will be tough sledding for the Philly RBs, it will be a rough day for the Ravens RBs, whichever one ends up getting the start.

RB Thomas Jones (NYJ) @ TEN: Jones has been playing well lately, but Tennessee is very solid upfront. Look for him to struggle.

RB Michael Turner (ATL) vs. CAR: Turner has not put up good yardage totals lately, but he has been saved by scoring TDs. I think this week, he will fail to reach the endzone, and also struggle to put up yards.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX), RB Fred Taylor (JAX) vs. MIN: Until the Williams boys are suspended, Minnesota will remain nearly impossible to run on.

RB Brandon Jacobs (NYG) @ ARI: There are rumors going around that Jacobs has a sore knee and might sit this weekend. Arizona is pretty tough against the run, and given the concerns about Jacobs’ knee, I would bench him, unless you have no other options.

Other RBs to sit:
RB Julius Jones (SEA) vs. WAS
RB Reggie Bush (NO) vs. GB
(I like the matchup, but not sure if he is healthy)
RB Larry Johnson (KC) vs. BUF
RB Steven Jackson (STL) vs. CHI
(already ruled out)
RB Antonio Pittman (STL) vs. CHI

WR Chris Chambers (SD), WR Vincent Jackson (SD) vs. IND: Indy gives up the least amount of points to fantasy WRs.

WR Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ), WR Laveranues Coles (NYJ) @ TEN: Tennessee is just too tough for me to recommend either.

WR Chad Johnson (CIN) @ PIT: Johnson was suspended for this week;’s game by the team.

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI) @ BAL: Baltimore is too tough against the pass to recommend starting the rookie.

WR Calvin Johnson (DET) vs. TB: Johnson has been doing well this season despite all the QB issues. I think this week, however, he will struggle.

Other WRs to bench:
WR Marques Colston (NO) vs. GB
WR Donte’ Stallworth (CLE) vs. HOU
WR Lee Evans (BUF) @ KC
WR Matt Jones (JAX) vs. MIN

Week 12: Start

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

START:

QB Peyton Manning (IND) @ SD: Peyton is playing great right, and SD gives up the most points to fantasy QBs.

QB Jeff Garcia (TB) @ DET: Detroit is awful. Even Garcia should put up big numbers.

QB Brady Quinn (CLE) vs. HOU: Broken finger and all, he still has a good matchup.

QB Jason Campbell (WAS) @ SEA: Campbell has not been playing all that well lately due to some tough matchups, but the Seahawks will be much easier.

QB Kyle Orton (CHI) @ STL: Yes, Orton has a bum ankle, and he played poorly lastl week against Green Bay, but the Rams are weak against the pass.

QB Gus Frerotte (MIN) @ JAX: He will probably have a few turnovers, but Jacksonville is friendly to opposing QBs, so he is still worth a start.

QB Kerry Collins (TEN) vs. NYJ: The Jets, much like the past few Titans opponents, will likely focus on the run. Although the Jets are solid upfront, they are vulnerable against the pass.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ NO: Rodgers is healthy again, and should do well against a weak New Orleans pass defense. And this game is likely to be high-scoring.

QB Eli Manning (NYG) @ ARI: The Cardinals give up the most passing TDs in the NFL, and Eli should do pretty well.

Other QBs to start:
QB Drew Brees (NO) vs. GB
QB Jay Cutler (DEN) vs. OAK
QB Kurt Warner (ARI) vs. NYG
QB Tyler Thigpen (KC) vs. BUF
QB Matt Cassel (NE) @ MIA
QB David Garrard (JAX) vs. MIN
QB Shaun Hill (SF) @ DAL
QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. CIN
QB Tony Romo (DAL) vs. SF

RB Marshawn Lynch (BUF) @ KC: Kansas City is extremely soft against the run. And QB Trent Edwards is not playing well lately, so Buffalo will likely lean on Lynch.

RB Matt Forte (CHI) @ STL: Forte has a great matchup.

RB Justin Fargas (OAK) @ DEN: I am hesitant even to suggest starting an Oakland player, but Denver is so soft against the run that someone has to do well, right?

RB Warrick Dunn (TB) @ DET: Dunn steps in for the injured RB Earnest Graham, and gets an easy matchup.

RB Peyton Hillis (DEN) vs. OAK: It is unclear how much of a role RB Tatum Bell will play in Denver, but I think Hillis will at least remain the goal line back. So he is worth a start against a very soft Raiders run defense.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) vs IND: Unfortunately, LT is no longer a must-start. But he has a good matchup this week against Indy, who gave up 150+ yards to RB Steve Slaton last week.

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE) vs. HOU: Lewis is playing pretty well this year, and has a good matchup this week.

RB Marion Barber (DAL) vs. SF: You gotta start Barber every week.

RB Willie Parker (PIT) vs. CIN: Parker is healthy again and has a pretty good matchup against the Bengals.

RB Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. NYJ: I know he has a tough matchup, and he has not been doing all that well lately, but I still like him this week.

Other RBs to start:
RB Steve Slaton (HOU) @ CLE
RB Clinton Portis (WAS) @ SEA
RB Adrian Peterson (MIN) @ JAX
RB Frank Gore (SF) @ DAL
RB Joseph Addai (IND) @ SD
RB Ryan Grant (GB) @ NO

WR Sanata Moss (WAS) @ SEA: Seattle is just plain bad.

WR Terrell Owens (DAL), WR Roy Williams (DAL) vs. SF: Romo is (mostly) healthy, and SF presents a very favorable matchup for the Dallas WRs.

WR Donnie Avery (STL) vs. CHI: Chicago is vulnerable against the pass but stout against the run, so the Rams will likely be throwing the ball often. You might even consider starting WR Torry Holt.

WR Antonio Bryant (TB) @ DET: Everyone scores against Detroit.

WR Plaxico Burress (NYG) @ ARI: Arizona gives up a lot of passing TDs, so look for Eli and Plax to hook up.

WR Randy Moss (NE), WR Wes Welker (NE) @ MIA: Miami has a pretty weak secondary, so Moss and Welker should do pretty well.

WR Andre Johnson (HOU) @ CLE: Cleveland is not awful against the pass, but they are not good enough to stop AJ. Even though he is not as hot as he was early in the year, he is still a must-start.

WR Greg Jennings (GB), WR Donald Driver (GB) @ NO: Look for the Packers to run the ball quite a bit against the Saints, but I think they will also move the ball through the air quite a bit. I have a feeling there will be a lot of offense in the Superdome on MNF.

WR Greg Camarillo (MIA), WR Ted Ginn (MIA) vs. NE: Camarillo has to earn that new paycheck. And Ginn has been playing well.

WR Hines Ward (PIT), WR Santonio Holmes (PIT) vs. CIN: Cincinatti is decent against the pass, but Roethlisberger should be able to spread the ball around and get both Ward and Holmes some catches.

Other WRs to start:
WR Reggie Wayne (IND) @ SD
WR Marvin Harrison (IND) @ SD
WR Anquan Boldin (ARI) vs. NYG
WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) vs. NYG
WR Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. BUF
WR Bernard Berrian (MIN) @ JAX
WR Brandon Marshall (DEN) vs. OAK
WR Eddie Royal (DEN) vs. OAK
WR Steve Smith (CAR) @ ATL
WR Roddy White (ATL) vs. CAR
WR Lance Moore (NO) vs. GB
WR Justin Gage (TEN) vs. NYJ
WR Braylon Edwards (CLE) vs. HOU
(seriously)

Week 12: Buy / Sell

November 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Alright. Most trade deadlines have likely passed. But here is one last edition of “Buy / Sell” for anyone who can still make moves. Since most cannot, I will make it short and sweet.

BUY:

QB Tony Romo (DAL): He is finally back, but had a poor outing. I think it will take him a game or two to adjust to his pinkie splint, but overall, he will be fine. Try to buy low now.

RB Steve Slaton (HOU): He has a very, very easy schedule to end the season. He had a huge game last week, so it might not be an easy task to pry him away from his owner. But suggest that Ahman Green is going to continue to vulture his TDs (which is a real threat) and see if that lowers the asking price.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): He has been playing well lately against some pretty tough defenses. The Packers are committed to the run, and Grant looks primed to go on a stretch of good games like he did at the end of last year. Do not give up too much for him, since he has some tough matchups, but he will definitely do better over the last few weeks than he did over the first.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND): Wayne had another down game (by his standards) last week, but QB Peyton Manning is clearly back, and the Colts have a very friendly schedule down the stretch. See if you can make a move for Wayne now. You will be happy you did.

SELL:

RB Michael Turner (ATL): You know how I feel about him — he only plays well against poor defenses. He has scored 3 TDs in his last two weeks, which has saved him for fantasy purposes, but his rushing totals are not very good. Last week against Denver — who has one of the worst run defenses in the league — he only managed 81 yards on 25 carries. And he plays against Minnesota in week 16, which is likely your championship weekend.



Week 12: Monday Injury Report

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

QB Tony Romo (DAL): Romo (finger) saw his first action since breaking his finger about a month ago. Advice: Romo looked rusty, but was able to lead the Cowboys to a win over the Redskins. I think he might have to deal with his finger for the rest of the season, although he should start to get used to it — and thus become more effective — as the season goes on.

QB Kyle Orton (CHI): Orton (ankle) started against the Packers but was benched late in the game when it was out of reach. Advice: Orton was clearly limited by his ankle injry, and was seen hobbling around on the field. I do not expect him to return to form any time soon, so keep him on your bench for now.

RB Clinton Portis (WAS): Portis (knee) was surprisingly active against the Cowboys. Advice: Portis is one of the toughtest guys in the NFL and often plays through injuries, but I was surprised to see him out there on SNF. I have not seen any reports that indicate whether he aggracated his MCL sprain, though, so expect him to be ready to go next week.

RB Willis McGahee (BAL): McGahee (ankle) reaggravated his ankle injury this past weekend. Advice: McGahee has been struggling with injuries all year, which makes his backups — RB Ray Rice and RB Le’Ron McClaim — valuable commodities in most leagues. It is not clear how serious this injury is, but if McGahee misses any time or is limited, expect Rice to step in and perform pretty well.

RB Earnest Graham (TB): Graham (ankle) is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Advice: With Graham out, RB Warrick Dunn will take over as the main RB in Tampa Bay. Also, RB Cadillac Williams, who was recently removed from the PUP list, could see a few carries down the road.

RB Brandon Jacobs (NYG): Jacobs (knee) missed the second half of the Giants game with a sore knee. Advice: Jacobs is expected to have a “precautionary” MRI, but his injury is not expected to be serious. Check back for updates, though.

WR Donald Driver (GB): Driver (knee) hobbled off the field against the Bears, but later returned to the game. Advice: Coach Mike McCarthy said that Driver had an assortment of ailments, but none seem to serious, so expect him to be in the lineup next week against New Orleans.