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Week 4 Watch List

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some players to keep an eye on this week. If they continue to perform, add them to your roster.

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): His numbers are not jaw-dropping, but he is fairly consistent and plays on a team with a good defense and good running game. Which makes him a solid play if your starter is on bye or injured.

QB Chad Henne (MIA): Not sure how good he will be, but he is a starter now that QB Chad Pennington is done for the year, so give him some thought if you are desperate.

QB Josh Johnson (TB): It looks like QB Byron Leftwich has been benched. I doubt Johnson will do much, but you never know.

RB Jerome Harrison (CLE): I am a little disappointed that RB James Davis did not get more chances while RB Jamal Lewis was out with injury. Not sure if Harrison is the RB2 in CLE or if Davis is still dealing with injury issues of his own. Either way, as long as Lewis is slowed by injuries, keep an eye on both Harrison and Davis to see who gets the touches.

WR Keenan Burton (STL): I was big on WR Laurent Robinson, but now that he is on IR, someone else has to step up. And that guy could be Burton.

WR Mike Wallace (PIT): PIT cannot run the ball, so they will have to pass. And Wallace has looked pretty good as the third option. Keep an eye on him.

WR Andre Caldwell (CIN): I expected WR Chris Henry to be more productive, but he seems to be limited by injuries. Which has opened the door for Caldwell.

WR Chaz Schilens (OAK): He could play this week. Although with how poorly the fat caveman is throwing the ball, it might not matter. But keep an eye on him. He is tall and lanky, so maybe he can catch some of those errant passes.

TE Vernon Davis (SF): Davis had a big game against MIN and has done alright otherwise this year. Keep an eye on him and see if they continue to go to him in the red zone.

Week 2 Watch List

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

The “Watch List” is a group of players to keep an eye on. In most leagues, they are not worth adding right now. But they could be worthy of a roster spot if they keep performing.

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): He is a rookie and will have his up and down games, but he could be a solid backup and a good play against weak matchups.

QB Michael Vick (PHI): I am (still) not a huge fan. But QB Donovan McNabb is injured, which could open the door for Vick. QB Jeff Garcia is an option if McNabb misses time, as well.

QB Jamarcus Russell (OAK): Just kidding. He is fat and terrible.

RB Laurence Maroney (NE): He had the most carries of any NE RB in week 1. He only gained 32 yards on those 10 carries, but it looks like he will be involved. Watch and see how they use him.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Robinson looked pretty good in week 1. And it looks like STL will have to throw the ball a lot this year, because they are awful.

WR Mario Manningham (NYG): Manningham showed some explosiveness and play-making ability in week 1, and could get increased looks with WR Hakeem Nicks sidelined with a foot injury.

WR Louis Murphy (OAK): Murphy seemed to be the most effective WR for OAK in week 1. I think his looks will go down when Schilens gets back, but as long as he keeps getting open, I think he will get more looks than WR Darius Heyward-Bey.

WR Jerhame Urban (ARI): If WR Anquan Boldin continues to be limited by his hamstring injury and/or WR Steve Breaston misses any more time with his sore knee, Urban could get extra looks.

WR Johnny Knox (CHI): The rookie has some speed and could turn into an option for QB Jay Cutler, as soon as he realizes which team he is supposed to be throwing the ball to.

TE Ben Watson (NE): Two great TD catches in the win over BUF. I doubt he is that involved every week, but obviously he is part of the passing game (for now…).

TE Todd Heap (BAL): He’s healthy. So he’s got that going for him. And he actually looks like a player again. Keep an eye on him.

Green Bay D/ST: I talked about the GB DEF as a sleeper before the season, and they showed up in week 1 by causing 4 turnovers, one of which was nearly returned for a TD. Look for this group to keep attacking the QB and causing turnovers all year.

So, you know, like, watch those guys this week.

[Pre]Week 1 Watch List

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some guys to keep an eye on as the season starts:

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): Will he follow in the footsteps of QB Matt Ryan and post respectable numbers? Or will he struggle and sit on the waiver wire all year?

QB Matt Stafford (DET): Stafford was (not surprisingly) named the starter over QB Daunte Culpepper. Although the DET OL is not great, Stafford does have WR Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to. But I suspect he will also throw the ball to the other team quite a few times.

RB James Davis (CLE): Davis is available in many leagues, and could get a significant amount of touches in CLE. RB Jamal Lewis will likely start the season at RB, but I expect Davis to get some carries and eventually take over.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Allegedly, he is the starter, the full-time RB, and the goal line back. Does any of this matter? It could. FWP is on the downside of his career, but he is not quite done yet. The PIT OL is suspect, but they do like to run the ball. If FWP can stay healthy, he is a great value.

RB Michael Bush (OAK): Bush is a very talented RB, but is stuck in a RBBC in OAK with RB Darren McFadden and RB Justin Fargas. If Bush could get more touches, he could be productive. But we will have to wait and see how they use him.

RB Jamaal Charles (KC): Many expect a (slight) resurgence of RB Larry Johnson this season. Which could happen. But given his past, I am not all that confident. Which means Charles could be in a position to get some extra touches. Especially if KC is losing and has to throw the ball often.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): He caught a TD in each preseason game. I know it is only preseason, but I am excited about Henry. Let’s see what he can do when it counts.

WR Marko Mitchell (WAS): I wrote about this super-duper-hella-deep sleeper a week or so ago. And he has not shaken that status yet. But he could end up being productive, if the other WRs in WAS cannot get the job done. Keep an eye on him as the season goes along.

TE Anthony Fasano (MIA): Fasano had a solid year in 2008, and now he is no longer sharing time with TE David Martin, who was placed on IR. He could increase his yardage totals, although I would be surprised if he matched or exceeded last year’s TD total.

TE Jermichael Finley (GB): Finley was a focal point of the GB offense in the preseason. But he is still listed as the backup behind TE Donald Lee. Either way, the guy is super-talented and creates mismatches when he is in the game. So I expect GB will find ways to get him involved.

Jamal Lewis

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite rumors that RB Jamal Lewis might not make the final 53-man roster in CLE, he remains a member of the team after final cuts have been made.

But I think this was more of a financial-motivated move than a move based on his skill or expected contribution. CLE paid Lewis his roster bonus earlier this season, which I believe made his $3M salary this year guaranteed. So cutting him would have been costly.

So, although the old, tippy-toe running, coke-trafficking RB remains on the roster, I do expect rookie RB James Davis to get some work and eventually take over the majority of the carries. Keep him on your roster if you have him, or at least keep him on your radar.

RB Handcuffs

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

As I have said before, you should not automatically grab the “handcuff” for the RBs you draft simply because they are their real life backup.

However, there are some “handcuffs” you should defnitely grab if you draft certain RBs. And here is a list of guys that, if you draft them, you should also draft their “handcuff”:

RB Adrian Peterson (MIN): Peterson has been a workhorse since he came into the league as a rookie. But he is not without injury concerns. And he may have one of the better backups in the league in RB Chester Taylor. If AP misses any time, Taylor should put up very good numbers in his stead.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): MJD has had a very healthy career thus far. But he has also been limited in the amount of touches he’s had. This year JAX (finally) expects to use him as a fulltime ballcarrier. Although that increases his fantasy value, it also increases his chance to get injured. There has been no official word from JAX on his backup, but I expect RB Chauncey Washington would get the nod (initially) to take over the load. But also keep an eye on rookie RB Rashad Jennings, who could get some touches, too.

RB Michael Turner (ATL): Whether you believe “The Curse of 370” or not, you cannot argue with the fact that there is a body of statistical evidence out there that says it is very likely Turner will get injurd this year. So, even if you do not believe it, you should play the odds and pickup his backup. Unfortunately, his top backup, RB Jerious Norwood, suffered a knee injury recently. But he should be fine by the time Turner goes down. But you should also keep an eye on RB Jason Snelling and rookie RB Thomas Brown, who could get some work if Turner succumbs to “the curse”.

RB Frank Gore (SF): Gore is a highly-ranked RB this year, due to his skill level, the offense he is working in, and his history of being productive. However, he also has a history of being injury-prone. And rookie RB Glenn Cofffee is playing ver well. So add him if you have Gore, and look like a genius when Gore misses time and you casually insert Coffee into the lineup and pile up the points.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): If you gamble on Westbrook early, you need to make sure you get RB LeSean McCoy later in the draft. McCoy should put up very Westbrook-like numbers if/when Westbrook goes down.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): It is not entirely clear what role Barber will have in the DAL offense this year. But he should get enough touches to make him a very solid RB2. Either way, in the event that his brutish running-style causes him to miss any games, look for RB Tashard Choice to pick up his touches. RB Felix Jones should continue to get his own touches no matter what, although they would likely increase in the event that Barber goes down.

RB Pierre Thomas (NO): Thomas came into the year with high expectatoins, but an MCL injury has put his status for week 1 in doubt. If you have Thomas on your team, you should also add RB Mike Bell, who would benefit immensely if Thomas misses any time.

RB Clinton Porits (WAS): Those who had Portis on their team last year remember how much fun it was at the beginning of the season when he was killing it. And they also remember how miserable it was at the end of the year when he was getting killed. And now there are reports that he has a bruised rib. I love Portis and think he is about as tough as they come for NFL RBs. But as a result of his toughness, he often has nagging injuries. I think RB Ladell Betts will be involved more this year, and he should be on your roster if you own Portis.

RB Marshawn Lynch (BUF): We already know Lynch is going to miss the first 3 games of the year, which means RB Fred Jackson is going to get a majority of the touches during that time. Add him to your roster if you have Lynch, not only for those first three games, but also for later, just in case Lynch gets injured or cannot keep his nose clean.

RB Thomas Jones (NYJ): Thomas is getting older and has not looked good so far this year. But he did have a career-year in 2008, so it is hard to discount him completely. Either way, if he were to get hurt or become entirely ineffective, RB Shonn Greene would probably take over his role as the main ballcarrier. Although I think RB Leon Washington is the only NYJ RB worth owning, Greene will probbaly do alright in the event Jones goes down. But, like the situation in DAL, Washington would probably see his touches go up, as well.

RB Knowshon Moreno (DEN): Moreno has a ton of potential, unfortunately we have no idea whether he will ever meet said potential, because we have yet to see him play in the NFL for any legitimate amount of time due to a knee injury he suffered early on in his first preseason game (after a long holdout). I suspect he will be fine once he recovers, but if you took a flyer on him in your draft, you should also add RB Peyton Hillis, who seems (to me, anyway) as the best option DEN has if/when Moreno is out. RB Correll Buckhalter and RB LaMont Jordan are also in the mix, I suppose, but Hillis should be the most effective RB in the group.

RB Joseph Addai (IND): Addai has been fairly ineffective recently, and he has struggled to stay healthy. Enter rookie RB Donald Brown, who has looked sharp so far. It is hard to say what will happen with this RBBC, but it is safe to say that if Addai gets injured or cannot get the job done, Brown will step in and could do very well.

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE): Lewis has looked slow this preseason and is at that magical age (30) when RBs go down hill. So if you take him, you should also grab RB James Davis, who could supplant him as the starter by midseason.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Parker has seen his YPC go down each year since becoming the starter. That is not a good sign of things to come. So if you take Fast Willie, make sure you also grab RB Rashard Mendenhall, who should see his role increase as the year goes along, especially if FWP cannot stay healthy.

Stock Up

August 25, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s tough to predict much based on the preseason. Most top players only get a few series per game, and even then it is hard to tell much. But there are some players who look very sharp, and as a result, they see their fantasy draft stock rise. Here is a list of players who are looking very good and are moving up draft boards.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Rodgers has looked very sharp in the preseason and I am confident that he will end the season as one of the top fantasy players. If he continues to look this sharp, it is going to be hard to keep him out of the top 3 QBs in the rankings.

QB Tony Romo (DAL): Just in case you forgot, Romo is a very good QB. WR Terrell Owens certainly made him better, but Romo will still do very well even without TO. He has looked good so far and should play very well this year, despite the fact that DAL wants to focus on the running game more.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA): After a miserable 2008 season marred by injuries all across the board, Hasselbeck has looked very sharp this year. Besides being healthy, Hasselbeck is now throwing to newly-acquired WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, a healthy (for now) WR Deion Branch, and impressive rookie WR Deon Butler. Plus, second-year TE John Carlson looks to build on a solid rookie campaign. I do not expect Hasselbeck to be among the top-scoring fantasy QBs, but he does present a very nice value in the later rounds as a backup who could post solid numbers in favorable matchups.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): Count me among the skeptics. And by that, I mean I am not one who expects DeAngelo to continue his unreal performance to end 2008. However, I am reconsidering that position, because DeAngelo has looked very good this preseason, and RB Jonathan Stewart cannot seem to stay healthy, which is an issue he has dealt with since his college days in Oregon. If Stewart’s injury issues continue, DeAngelo’s stock goes way up. But even if he returns, I think we can expect DeAngelo to do quite well in 2009.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): Obviously, McFadden is not going to average 8.5 YPC all year. But that is what he is doing in the preseason. Which shows that he has big-play ability. I am still worried about him as a full-time RB, but OAK runs the ball enough and will use him out of the backfield as a receiver to allow him to post pretty solid fantasy numbers.

RB Ray Rice (BAL): Rice has been steadily rising up draft boards for awhile. Which kind of worries me. I liked him a lot more before when he was undervalued. I think the hype surrounding him now could push him high enough where he is borderline overvalued. Either way, his stock is going up, because he seems to be ready to handle the load in BAL. RB Willis McGahee will still get some carries, and LeRon McClain is always a threat to steal TDs. But Rice is the best all-around RB on the roster. And it was nice to see him get a 3-yard TD against NYJ. It was also nice to see him as the only RB to get carries with the 1st team offense.

RB Cedric Benson (CIN): I am aware of his past, but he seems to have found a new home in CIN. And, if nothing else, he is set to get a lot of touches in what should be a much-improved offense. He should be a solid RB3 and you can get him very late in most drafts.

RB Leon Washington (NYJ): This guy is extremely fast/quick and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. I think RB Thomas Jones is on the way out, but I am not convinced that RB Shonn Greene is the answer. Instead, I think NYJ will try to get Washington the ball more often and let him work in space.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): Grant teased us with a great finish in 2007, only to limp through 2008 with an injured hamstring after holding out all through camp. But Grant looks much quicker and faster this preseason, which makes me think he is ready to regain his late-2007 form. Plus, the GB offense looks very sharp and primed to score a ton of points. And you have to love a guy who is not part of a RBBC, even if he is not all that dynamic.

WR Troy Williamson (JAX): Thus far in his career, Williamson has been known mostly for not being able to catch the ball. But this preseason, he is actually becoming known for making catches. In fact, he leads all WRs in the preseason with 221 yards (on only 7 catches). He is still considered a very deep sleeper, but he could be worth a roster spot if he can keep, you know, catching the ball.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Speaking of reviving your career, Robinson has been playing well in STL. WR Donnie Avery is recovering from a foot injury, allowing Robinson some more reps. And Robinson has been taking advantage of the increased playing time. As with Williamson, Robinson is still a sleeper and is only worthy of a bench spot in deeper leagues. But keep an eye on him and see how STL uses him.

WR David Clowney (NYJ): Clowney might as well be called “Mr. August”. After leading the NFL in receiving yards during the preseason in 2008, Clowney has played very well again this year, scoring 2 TDs already. But it is worth noting that, after playing well in the 2008 preseason, he only had 1 catch for 26 yards in the regular season. His stock is certainly up due to his play, but do not get too excited. Especially with a rookie QB under center.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry has finally (or so they say) cleaned up his act and is ready to play football. The guy is freakishly athletic and is a favorite target of QB Carson Palmer, which could work out very well for him if he can keep his head on straight. I think the CIN offense is very underrated, so Henry could end up posting some very solid numbers.

Top Sleepers

August 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Check out the Player Rankings page for my top sleepers at each position.

Or just click here, if that seems like too much work.