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Week 14: Hot & Cold

December 3, 2008 Leave a comment

Here is a quick overview of some guys who are hot and some guys who are cold, as you prepare your teams for the playoffs.

HOT:

RB Michael Turner (ATL): I was down on Turner earlier in the year, but he has proven me wrong. And on top of that, now that DT Pat Williams and DT Kevin Williams have been suspended by the NFL, his matchup against Minnesota in week 16 is looking much more attractive.

RB Thomas Jones (NYJ): Jones has over 1000 yards and 11 TDs rushing on the year, and he still has 4 games to play. He is having one of his best seasons ever, and you likely drafted him much later than most guys who are scoring much less. Look for him to continue to play well, as he has some easy matchups down the stretch.

RB Peyton Hillis (DEN): Hillis is a very unlikely late-season fantasy hero, but he has certainly delivered for those who were astute enough to grab him off waivers. He is the only RB to rush for 100 yards on the Jets this year, and the Broncos are willing to give him the ball near the goal line.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): His 4-TD performance against Green Bay was nice. But overall, he has been playing pretty well. Most thought RB Jonathan Stewart would steal his carries, but Stewart (predictably) has been unable to stay healthy. Williams has scored more than 20 points in each of his last 4 games.

WR Domenik Hixon (NYG): With WR Plaxico Burress out for the rest of the year, Hixon steps into the lineup. And he should do pretty well. The Giants have a great offensive line and a great running game, which opens things up for the WRs. Look for Hixon to perform very well over the next few weeks.

WR Lance Moore (NO): He is currently the 9th highest scoring fantasy WR. And no one had even heard of this guy until after the first few weeks of the season. Think of everyone out there who drafted Devery Henderson or Robert Meachem. Or even Marques Colston. And Moore is the best WR in New Orleans.

TE Tony Gonzalez (KC): Many thought he was over the hill (or left him for dead due to the QB issues in Kansas City), but Gonzo has proven us all wrong. He leads all TEs in scoring and has put up some pretty impressive numbers lately. I expect the trend to continue.

COLD:

RB Clinton Portis (WAS): A couple weeks ago, most thought he was the MVP of the league. But injuries and tough matchups have crushed those dreams. He has scored less than 10 points in 2 of his last 3 games, and has some tough matchups down the stretch. Hopefully he will bounce back.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Barber only scored 10 points in his last 2 games, and now is dealing with a toe injury. On top of that, he faces Pittsburgh, New York Giants, and Baltimore in his next three games. Brutal.

WR Braylon Edwards (CLE): Easily the biggest bust of the year.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND): Despite easy matchups, Wayne has not performed well lately. He does have easy matchups ahead, as well, but my confidence in his ability to be a top WR is not nearly as strong as it was early in the year.

Week 7: Hot & Cold

October 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Here is a list of who is hot and who is cold going into week 7:

HOT:

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Despite concerns about his shoulder injury, Rodgers has played very well. He is the top-scoring fantasy player (depending on your scoring system) and, since GB has no running game to speak of, should continue to post very solid numbers going forward.

QB Drew Brees (NO): Playing without arguably his two best receiving options (Colston, Shockey), Brees has been outstanding. He is second in fantsy points and — if you can believe it — things should get even better once he has Colston and Shockey back.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Most likely, the Cowboys will lean heavily on Marion Barber while Romo is out. And on top of that, Felix Jones will miss some time with a hamstring injury. Look for Barber to get a lot of touches over the next few weeks.

WR Reggie Wayne (IND): Other than week 3 against Jacksonville (3 catches, 74 yards), Wayne has had at least 86 yards and a TD in every single game. He is a model of consistency and has been a fantasy stud this year.

WR Roddy White (ATL): White is second in the NFL in receiving yards and looks to be a must-start WR at this point. Some (including me) were concerned about White’s ability to consistently produce when RB Michael Turner struggled and with a rookie QB. But he has been very solid.

WR Braylon Edwards (CLE): After doing essentially nothing all year, Edwards had 5 catches for 154 yards, 1 TD and a 2-point conversion on MNF. And better yet, QB Derek Anderson looked sharp. Hopefully it will continue.

TE Jason Witten (DAL): Witten ranks 5th in receiving yards in the NFL, and is crushing all other fantasy TEs. If you were lucky enough to grab Witten, you are in great shape. It is like having another WR1 on your team. And look for him to continue to play well, even with Brad Johnson at QB.

COLD:

QB Dan Orlovsky (DET): The Lions placed Jon Kitna on IR, and Orlovsky is now the starter. He had a very average performance agaisnt Minnesota in his first start, and now has lost Roy Williams. And in addition to just being on a bad team, Drew Stanton is waiting in the wings.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): I keep expecting Grant to turn it on, but he continues to let me down. Last week, against a marginal Seattle defense, Grant was only able to put up 90 yards, despite getting 33 carries. He has another good matchup this week against the Colts, but I simply have no faith in him at this point.

RB Le’Ron McClain (BAL): McClain had been doing very well this year until he posted minus-2 yards against Indy last week. And this week, he faces a tough Miami defense. I think he will rebound, because Miami will not jump out to a big lead like Indy did, but Ray Rice is also in the mix.

RB Adrian Peterson (MIN): Peterson has not delivered on the high expectations most had for him coming into the season. He has three games with less than 10 total fantasy points, and recently posted only 32 yards rushing on 21 carries against an average Saints defense. He is still 10th in fantasy points for RBs, but since he was likely drafted first or second, his numbers are very disappointing.

Any TE Not Named Jason Witten: This year, TEs have been very disappointing. Witten has scored twice as many points as the 7th ranked TE (Owen Daniels), and has outscored the second-best TE (Antonio Gates) by more than 10 points. Basically, unless you have Witten, you are struggling to find a TE who can consistently help your fantasy team.

Week 4: Hot & Cold

October 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Here are some lesser known players who I consider to be hot right now.

QB Jason Campbell (WAS): Campbell struggled in week 1, but has been very consistent ever since, scoring around 17 points per game. Plus, Campbell has yet to thrown an INT. People forget about the Skins, because they are in the NFC East, but they are playing very well.

RB Steve Slaton (HOU): Slaton had unimpressive rushing numbers against the Jags, but caught 8 balls for 80 yards and a TD. As long as he remains involved in all phases of the game, he is a must-start.

RB Chris Johnson (TEN): He scored his first 2 TDs of the year and looked good against the Vikings, who have a very good run defense. He should begin to command most of the carries in Tennessee, although LenDale White will get some looks at the goal line.

WR DeSean Jackson (PHI): Okay. I am a believer. He has been very productive so far this year, and it looks like he will continue to be a big part of Philly’s offense. He is a rookie, so he will make a few mistakes, but he is a playmaker, so he is worth starting.

And here are some guys who are very cold. When a player is cold, you have a couple options: (1) Stash them on your bench and stick it out or (2) give up and drop them (assuming there are better options).

Stash ’em:

RB Ryan Grant (GB): The Packers claim his hamstring is healthy, but Grant is really struggling. Remember, though, before he went on a rampage at the end of the year in 2007, the Packers were dead last in the NFL in rushing. He has shown flashes, and I think he will eventually return to form. If you can, wait it out.

WR Andre Johnson (HOU): Outside of his 10 catches in week 1, Andre Johnson has struggled. He dropped a couple potential TD passes in week 3 and was a non-factor in week 4. However, if Slaton can get the ground game going and take some pressure off Schaub, Johnson should find some room to work.

WR Donald Driver (GB): I love Driver, but Greg Jennings has clearly replaced him as the go-to WR in Green Bay. Plus, the Packers have been strugglig on offense recently. I think the Packers will look to get Driver more involved, especially as teams try to force Rodgers to go away from Jennings, but he is not going to put up the same numbers he did when Favre was QB.

Drop ’em:

QB Derek Anderson (CLE): Anderson has played very poorly this year. The Browns have many issues, but Anderson is really struggling. And on top of it all, they have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. I would not expect him to rebound any time soon. Kerry Collins and Brian Griese, who have only started 3 games, have scored more fantasy points than Anderson.

RB Kevin Smith (DET): Smith lost his starting job to Rudi Johnson, essentially destroying what little value Smith had left. See how many carries he gets this week compared to Rudi, but he is likely not worth a roster spot anymore. But keep an eye on him. Rudi has been injury prone as of late, so Smith could return to the mix. Either way, the Lions have not been very productive on the ground.

Week 4: Hot & Cold

September 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Some thoughts on who is hot and who is cold after the first three weeks of the NFL season:

WHO IS HOT?

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Barber is simply a beast. He already has 5 total TDs in just 3 games. He plays for the best offense in the NFL and is nearly impossible to stop near the goal line. I have said it before and I will say it again: I think he will be the top RB in fantasy football this year.

RB Ronnie Brown (MIA): Sure, it was only one game. But his 5 TD performance last weekend was pretty incredible. The Patriots may be struggling, but they still have a pretty solid defense. Brown looks much quicker than expected coming off ACL surgery. And don’t forget, he was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year before his injury.

RB Steve Slaton (HOU): The rookie RB stepped into the starting lineup last weekend against a tough Tennessee defense and rushed for 118 yards (over 6 yards per carry) and a TD. He has been named the starter going into this week, although he faces another tough defense (Jacksonville).

WR Brandon Marshall (DEN): He hauled in 18 passes in his first game back from suspension and is third in the NFL in receiving yards, despite only playing in two games.

TE Jason Witten (DAL): Witten has caught at least 6 passes in each game and is averaging 90 yards per contest. He has not caught a TD yet, but he is still leading all TEs in fantasy points.

WHO IS COLD?

The Browns: Derek Anderson. Braylon Edwards. Kellen Winslow. Jamal Lewis. They are all struggling to match last year’s fantasy output. Their offensive line, which was largely responsible for their improved play last year, has struggled so far in 2008. And unfortunately, their schedule does not get much easier.

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): Big Ben was sacked 8 times by the Eagles and now has an injured hand to go along with his injured shoulder. He says his shoulder is not an issue, but it seems to be impacting his performance. As does the fact that his offensive line is struggling to protect him.

RB Kevin Smith (DET): Rudy Johnson made a pretty solid case (14 carries, 83 yards) last week to become the starting RB in Detroit. As far as I know, he has yet to officially take over as the starter, but Smith only has 3 carries last week and has not looked as good as expected. If nothing else, Rudy will certainly cut into his production.

WR Randy Moss (NE): As we learned while Moss was in Oakland, he can be a very different player depending on who is at QB and how well his team is performing. Most did not expect Moss to match his record-breaking totals from 2007, but without Brady, he may not even get halfway there.

WR Chad Ocho Cinco (CIN): Despite his name change, Chad Johnson has been very disappointing this year. He only has 88 yards (total!) through three games and has not caught a TD. The Bengals have not looked very good this year, although their OT loss to the Giants last week did provide a glimmer of hope.

Categories: Hot & Cold

Hot / Cold

September 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Some players who have moved up in my book:

WR Justin Gage (TEN): It was just announced that Kerry Collins will be the starting QB for the Titans until further notice. Collins is a great play-action QB and the Titans love to run the ball, so he is a good fit. Plus, they have a good offensive line, so his lack of mobility should not be an issue. This greatly increases the value of Gage, who caught a TD against the Bengals.

RB Chris Perry (CIN): He might not be worth a starting spot yet, but he is worth a roster spot. He is clearly the go-to RB in Cincy, but until their offense shows some signs of life, you cannot depend on him for production. Plus, Cincy has a pretty rough schedule.

RB Chris Johnson (TEN): I have loved this guy ever since he ran a 4.2 at the combine. Then I watched him in preseason and was even more impressed. I thought he might be a little small to run inside in the NFL, but he has proven me wrong. LenDale will get the goal line work, but the Titans have shown that they will give him the ball enough times to get him solid yardage totals. And he is fast enough that I think he will score on more than a few long TD runs this year.

WR Greg Jennings (GB): Most people were fairly high on Jennings coming into this year, given his production last year, but some were worried about how well Rodgers would play. Well, I do not think you need to worry, because it seems Rodgers is just fine. Jennings should post solid yardage numbers every week and will likely score 10-12 TDs this year.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Many thought he would struggle in replacing Favre, but he has played very well. He has thrown 4 TDs and 0 INTs through two games. The real test will be in week 3 against the Cowboys, but I think he will do just fine. In fact, i expect him to finish in the top 10 for QBs this year. If he does struggle against the Cowboys next week, you might want to try and swing a trade for him. He has great weapons at WR and (if GB gives Grant a rest) a good running game.

And some players who have moved down:

RB Larry Johnson (KC): The KC offense is not very good. And Johnson is not happy. I have always thought Johnson was a very good RB, but he is also the kind of player who does not play hard when he is unhappy. Look for him to continue to struggle.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (SD): As I said in an earlier post, he is suffering from a turf toe injury. In addition to that, the Chargers offensive line has some injured players (LT, C). You have to be worried when the Chargers put up 30+ points and LT only has 26 yards.

Colts Defense: I expected them to be much better, with Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney healthy. But they cannot stop the run. Both the Bears and the Vikings put up a bunch of yards on them, and neither team has a QB that scares you.

WR Braylon Edwards (CLE): He has looked bad in the first two games. He has dropped at least 5 passes that were easy catches. I expected him to be a little rusty, since he missed time in the preseason with a foot injury, but this is ridiculous. On top of it all, Derek Andersson has come back down to earth.

QB Derek Anderson (CLE): Speaking of DA… He has been a bust, so far. I was not a big fan to begin with, but I did not expect him to be this bad. Their offensive line is solid, and Jamal Lewis is serviceable. He should be better with guys like Edwards and Winslow catching (or trying to catch) his passes. But he has not looked that great. I think he will improve, though. He started with two very tough matchups: Dallas got up early on them, and the conditions against the Steelers made it tough to pass the ball.  If Edwards can learn to catch, he should be solid, but probably not on par with last year’s breakout season.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA): I am a big Hasselbeck fan, but no QB can perform when he has no one to throw the ball to. Seattle simply has no WRs right now. Branch and Engram are scheduled to return in a few weeks, but until then, expect some very ugly outings from Hasselbeck.

Categories: Hot & Cold