Line of scrimmage: Late schedule key in determining player values
I'll never get over it, Dave. Michael Vick threw his first interception in four years. OK, he hasn't played in three, but his turnover helped put the Bears atop the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers committed his first fumble of the year, and that was the difference in the Packers' loss in Atlanta. The Steelers should have lost to the 2-8 Bills, but the "sure-handed" Steven Johnson gave the Steelers an early Christmas gift, dropping a sure touchdown in overtime. To top it off I lost the family Thanksgiving football game and both airlines I flew on were over an hour late. Only the last three things were predictable.
Wait, did you just say you watched Steven Segal movies over the Thanksgiving break?
I can't get over his being caught twice doing that, much like I can't believe Dwayne Bowe's five multi-TD games in the past seven weeks.
I'll never get over it.
What is that?
Fine, I'm over it.
Block: There comes a time where every man will choke on his Cheerios like I did upon noticing that Cassel is ranked fourth in the league for quarterback rating. However, he's 21st in the amount of attempts he's made with just 323. That's an average of 29 attempts per game. Not bad, but it doesn't exactly place him in fantasy stud-dom. However, in the first four games Cassel was averaging a paltry 6.13 yards per attempt. His last four games he's averaging 7.72 yard per attempt, raising his YPA for the season to 7.14. To put that in perspective, Peyton Manning is averaging 6.8, Drew Brees, 7.28, and Matt Ryan, 6.70. All three have better WRs and are usually better protected up front. Yes, the Chiefs are a run-first team, and they face the Chargers' top-ranked defense in Week 14, but Denver's 20th ranked pass defense next week, and St. Louis and Tennessee's bottom-third ranked defenses in crucial playoff Weeks 15 and 16 make Cassel someone to whom I offer a Lordship. Owned in just 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues, feel free to knight him for these spot starts moving forward.
Counter-block: I can't rely on any Seattle receiver and sleep at night, which makes me sleepless outside of Seattle. Obomanu has received 19 of his 25 targets in the past three weeks. Great, you say, but Williams is suffering a foot problem that can't be considered too serious when he was only a game-time decision this past week. Since Seattle is now fighting for a division title, he'll get back on the field sooner than later, shifting Obomanu back to WR75 position in Seattle (aka WR2 for every other team) since Seattle is ranked 27th in offensive points per game. It's nice that Matt Hasselbeck has finally looked for another receiver besides Deon Butler, but Obomanu's 231 yards is his highest tally in his six years in and out of football. I want more than one breakout game to start putting him in my lineup, even against the likes of San Francisco coming up.
As for Bennett, it's much the same, though I trust Cutler's arm a lot more than I do Hasselbeck's. I don't care that Cutler makes bone-headed decisions. He gets the ball to his receivers quickly, even if they are on the other team. It's part of his appeal. If you're that desperate for a WR3 or Flex play to give you consistent points, I can think of other guys I'd want to take a chance on who might grow to bigger roles in their offenses. Guys we wanted to see more from like Jacoby Ford, who has two 100-yard games in four weeks, as well as a special teams TD. What about Brandon Gibson, who has three straight weeks of four-plus receptions and a stable quarterback situation.
Clearing the pile: Bennett has become a viable option for a very strong Bears team and is a decent WR2 for you. Obomanu is a reach with less of a track record, but might be a WR3 option in deeper leagues as the Seahawks have a much easier schedule.
Block: I'm not a huge fan of any runner in Carolina right now and why should anyone be? Carolina is ranked 21st, averaging 3.9 YPC. Truth is, you might even find Jonathan Stewart on the waiver wire, and when healthy, he could take back the job full time. However, the key clause there is "when healthy," which Stewart isn't and hasn't been for some time. Feet and Achilles problems have nagged him since he arrived in the league. Even though he's toughed it out and played in every game his first two years, his output has been seriously reduced when you consider his talents. Even after his tremendous output last week, Stewart is still plodding along at 3.5 yards per carry, and the odds of him remaining an every-down back this year are likely none. When you find a RB who has three straight weeks of more than 100 total yards output, you take him. Sure, he's got only two good matchups left (Seattle and Arizona), but let me remind you that since Week 7 he has 24 receptions, more than Stewart has ever put up in a season. With a rookie QB throwing with all the confidence of a mouse in a cat orphanage, you can expect him to garner yards through the air as well. He'll give you RB2 numbers the rest of the way.
Clearing the pile: While Carolina isn't the best place to mine rushing yards and TDs, Goodson has delivered enough good games to warrant playing him at the flex position. Just beware he'll lose half his value in Carolina's Week 17 matchup against the Steelers.