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The Fire Sale: Battle, Dwyer offer intrigue; Freeman offers puzzle

Something happened last Tuesday just after the Fire Sale was posted that made me laugh so hard I thought I should comment on it.

One of the Fire Sale's all-time favorite whipping boys, Bernard Berrian, claimed that he'd been open all this year and just isn't getting the ball. He even challenged a skeptical fan on Twitter to come watch film with him so he could point it out.

If you didn't see it here's what Berrian tweeted after the fan questioned his remarks about getting open:

"Anytime u wanna watch the film with me. Not just one game but all of them ... and if not sit down n shut up!!"

Right, because one thing quarterbacks hate to do is throw to a guy who's always open. I suppose the numerous quarterbacks Berrian has played with throughout his career have just been ignoring him all this time. The fact that he told a guy with no legs to "sit down n shut up" and that isn't the funniest thing about this story speaks volumes.

I can only hope that Berrian reads this and challenges me to watch film with him because I'll be there in a second. That's a guarantee. I'll take it a step further. I believe Berrian is one of the worst receivers I've ever seen play in the NFL. The guy runs in a straight line and sometimes he catches a ball thrown his way. I have plenty of film on that if Berrian wants to sit down and go over it.

Just for the record, Berrian has caught two passes in four games for a whopping 37 yards. That's not just one game, that's all of them. This past Sunday Berrian was benched for missing team meetings. I guess when you're always open meetings are kind of useless.

So that's two catches and an inactive in five games. To quote Dwight Schrute when he was interviewing Andy Bernard to be his No. 2 on The Office: "You aren't off to a very good start, Bernard."

Now, on with the Fire Sale ...

Jackie Battle, RB Chiefs -- I'll let you know when I'm first to recommend a guy but I'll also tell you when I messed up. I totally missed the boat on Battle.

I was so clueless about Battle that when someone on Twitter said they picked him up last week I responded, "Who the heck is Battle?" Instead I told my Twitter followers to go pick up Joe McKnight. Honest to God, Joe McKnight and his one rushing yard. I also started Stevan Ridley, so it was a tough week for old Casale. In case you didn't already know, I'm far from perfect.

Apparently I was living under a rock when the Chiefs said Battle would get more touches last week. Following Battle's 119-yard performance on 19 carries against the Colts, it's a safe bet that even Todd Haley will continue to give Battle touches moving forward.

Now there's good news and bad news when it comes to Battle. The good news is he's coming off the best game of his career. The bad news is it came versus the Colts, which is a step above playing against air.

Still, this looks like Battle's job for now. Thomas Jones is done and Dexter McCluster is being used more as a receiver than a runner. There's still some question as to how Battle does against a real defense but he's certainly the guy you want to own in the Chiefs backfield right now.

And McKnight? You can go ahead and drop him now.

Oh, and did you read the story about a fan writing a letter to Haley telling him to play Battle more? At least Haley is finally getting coaching advice from someone. Maybe Tony Sparano should check his mail more.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB Steelers -- In a weird coincidence I saw almost every snap Dwyer played in his final season with Georgia Tech.

It just so happened that I was in Las Vegas and threw $100 on Georgia Tech to win the ACC that year, so I watched the team all season. Dwyer was the main offensive weapon for the Yellow Jackets during their ACC title run along with Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Here's the thing about Dwyer's performance on Sunday: It says a lot about Rashard Mendenhall's struggles this season. Dwyer looked good behind the same line from which Mendenhall was getting stuffed. It will be interesting to see if Dwyer and Isaac Redman continue to get carries once Mendenhall is healthy again.

Mendenhall likely will still be the guy, and that's what the coaches are saying as well. However, if he continues to struggle it could open the door for Dwyer, who played well against a strong Titans run defense. Right now Dwyer is worth a shot in deeper leagues and if you have Mendenhall, but we probably saw his one shining moment on Sunday.

Doug Baldwin, WR Seahawks -- If I know something, I'll tell you I know it. As you saw with Battle above, if I screw up, I'll tell you I screwed up. Finally, if I don't know something, I'll tell you I don't know it. Did you get all that?

I have no idea how to assess the Seahawks receivers right now. You've got a guy like Ben Obomanu catching passes and Sidney Rice still is the most talented of the bunch, so what do you do? I have no idea.

Baldwin is the hot receiver right now. In his last two games, Baldwin has 13 receptions for 220 yards and a score. Will Baldwin continue to put up those kinds of numbers in the future? I have no idea.

I'm basically telling you I don't know what to do here. Both Baldwin and Obomanu will be picked up in a lot of leagues this week, but Rice is still the Seahawks best fantasy option overall. But if Tarvaris Jackson is out, that could change because he looks Rice's way a lot.

Baldwin is worth a shot if you need a receiver. He could end up being a real find or he could fall off the face of the earth. Again, I have no idea.

Kevin Walter, WR Texans -- Last week I told you that Jacoby Jones couldn't play receiver in the NFL, and if you saw him on Sunday you know I was being kind. Walter was the player who stepped up in Andre Johnson's absence and he'll now be a hot pickup this week.

Matt Schaub isn't likely to be looking Jones' way again after the performance he put up against the Raiders. If you had Jones, Berrian and Mario Manningham on the same team, you would have the best trio of receivers in the NFL that can run in a straight line and not catch the ball when it's thrown their way.

Walter is nothing special but he'll see a lot of one-on-one coverage with defenses focused on stopping Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. Schaub has to throw the ball to someone that isn't a tight end or running back and it looks like Walter will be that someone.

If you pick up Walter just remember his value will likely go back down once Johnson returns. Like Jones, Walter has been in Houston for what seems like 20 years and he hasn't done much overall. In other words, don't go crazy trying to get Walter but he makes for a nice addition if you can add him for close to nothing.

Pierre Garcon, WR Colts -- Curtis Painter doesn't complete a lot of passes. The few passes he does complete usually go for a big chunk of yardage and they usually go to Garcon.

With Peyton Manning under center, Garcon was the third best fantasy receiver on the Colts because Manning trusts Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie more. Painter isn't as in control as Manning and he's usually running for his life to boot. So it seems like Painter looks down the field more for Garcon when a play breaks down instead of delivering the ball quickly to a specific receiver like Manning.

The other thing, and this isn't new, is Garcon sees a lot of man coverage as defenses focus on taking away Wayne, Collie and Dallas Clark. Although that may not be the case much longer if Garcon continues to have huge games.

Garcon has always been a hit or miss receiver and he probably will be going forward. After two big games in which he's caught seven balls for 271 yards and four scores, Garcon is due to put up a clunker. I say move him while you can.

Jake Ballard, TE Giants -- The Giants have been desperate for a tight end to step up and replace the production they lost when Kevin Boss and Steve Smith departed. Ballard has done so the last two weeks, catching six balls for 105 yards and two scores.

Those stats are very similar to the numbers Boss used to put up in the Giants offense. Remember, Boss didn't catch a lot of passes but he would have those weeks where he would find the end zone and rack up 80 yards. From the looks of Ballard, it appears he can do the same thing.

For now Ballard is a backup fantasy tight end. You aren't going to start Ballard over a Top-12 tight end unless you have injuries or a bye week. However, Ballard is producing enough to be on a fantasy roster. If you're waiting for Antonio Gates to come back and you've been playing musical tight ends, give Ballard a shot. I like the cut of his jib.

Josh Freeman, QB Bucs -- You may as well put the entire Buccaneers offense on this list but I'll focus on Freeman. This isn't going to be another Anthony Thomas is it?

I once predicted Thomas would be a huge bust and be out of the NFL in four years. He responded by winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Then after I admitted how wrong I was about Thomas his career went into the toilet just like I thought it would initially.

I hated Freeman coming out of college but it appeared I was on the verge of one of my worst calls ever. However, now I'm not so sure. Freeman has looked really, really bad at times this year, and last Sunday was a low point for the entire Tampa Bay offense. Could it be that defenses have figured Freeman out? Let's be honest, he did benefit from being on the right side of a bunch of just-throwing-the-ball-up-and-praying passes last year. Sometimes luck like that runs out.

If I had to guess, this seems like just a bump in the road for Freeman and he'll get out of this funk eventually. Still, a lot of people who wait and select quarterbacks later in the draft pegged Freeman to be their starter. Well, I'm guessing three fantasy points isn't winning you a lot of games.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the Buccaneers right now. Other than a late long run against the Colts, LeGarrette Blount has been average and now has a knee injury. Mike Williams has been average, at best. Kellen Winslow has been average. No one on the Tampa offense is getting the job done. I suspect that will change but there's nothing to support that claim. If you watched the Bucs play on Sunday there's absolutely nothing to like about the team right now.

In his last three games Freeman has thrown for 654 yards, one score and four interceptions. That simply won't cut it. Put Freeman on the bench until the Bucs start showing signs of life. For Freeman and Tampa Bay's sake, they better hope that comes this week at home against New Orleans or this ship could keep on sinking.

DeAngelo Williams, RB Panthers -- I have Williams coming down for a specific reason. The reason is I played against him last week.

For those of you longtime Fire Sale followers, you know about my amazing bad luck. I'm not even talking about the big stuff either. I'm talking about the little things that drive you nuts. You know, that stupid dumb luck.

The guy I was playing had running backs on byes and was going to start Brandon Jacobs. Once Jacobs was ruled out his only other option was Williams. I said to myself on Sunday, "Win or lose, just don't let Williams have a big week." Starting Williams isn't playing well, it's pure desperation.

Of course, I could have written the end of the story before the games even kicked off. Williams ran for 115 yards and a score on only nine carries. He had 143 yards in the previous four games combined.

The real reason I have Williams coming down is because he'll probably keep me out of heaven.

I'm on the fence to get into whatever afterlife exists anyway. If there's a heaven, I have some work to do in order to get in. Sunday really set me back. I don't think mooning God and telling him to kiss my backside helped my cause any. I'll probably regret that when I'm pleading my case to get through the gates and they roll out that footage.

So if you have Williams, you should trade him while you still can. Williams will likely never put up those numbers again this season unless I face him in the playoffs. Playoffs? I'm talking about playoffs? Are you kidding me? I just hope my team wins another game.

Stevan Ridley, RB Patriots -- Well, that didn't work. I finally took my own advice. I acquired Ridley in two leagues and started him. Now I know why people are always sending me those nasty e-mails telling me to go kill myself. I was so mad on Sunday I sent one of those to myself. That's the last time I listen to me. That's worse than you listening to me because I already know I'm a pear-shaped loser.

I'm not going to kid you, this one hurt. I sat there depressed just staring at the wall for hours after the game. I had been right every step of the way with Ridley since he was drafted up until Sunday. Not only did Ridley do nothing but BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a career game. God does love his petty tortures, doesn't he?

I let the readers of the Fire Sale down, I let my family down and I let myself down. Actually, Ridley did all that but I doubt Ridley and his 13 rushing yards will take the blame, so I'll do it instead. I apologize for being a big fat joke.

Denarius Moore, WR Raiders -- Moore has had one big game this year. Coincidentally, it was the week I went up against him and lost by 10 points. So, like DeAngelo Williams, Moore only seems to put up strong fantasy numbers when I'm rooting against him.

The bottom line is since Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford returned to the lineup Moore has been an afterthought in Oakland's passing game. He isn't getting a lot of playing time, and when Moore is on the field Jason Campbell isn't looking his way at all.

I'm kind of surprised by Moore's rapid decline because he looked like a stud in the making against Buffalo. I know Moore is a rookie and maybe he's struggling with some things but it' shocking that Moore hasn't been more of a factor over the last two weeks. Only a late touchdown catch against the Patriots saved Moore from having two dreadful games.

At this point Moore should remain on your bench. He has talent and upside so there's a chance Moore will once again be a fantasy contributor before the end of the year. but right now owners can't live with zero points out of a fantasy receiver. Trust me, I get one of those a week from a receiver. It's a killer.

Percy Harvin, WR Vikings -- Speaking of getting no points from a receiver, I'm done with this guy. The Vikings simply aren't using him enough. I'm sick and tired of blasting Leslie Frazier. He obviously doesn't want to use one of his top offensive weapons for some reason. It's my fault for starting Harvin and thinking a guy like Frazier will ever understand how to be a football coach. Harvin has little fantasy value at this point and that probably won't change until Frazier is back where he belongs; coaching defensive backs at a local high school. Plus, when Berrian comes back he'll always be open so ...

Dallas Clark, TE Colts -- When a player has been as productive as Clark has been over the years, you wait a little longer to close the book on him. It's time to close it now.

The biggest problem with Clark is the Colts offensive line is so abysmal he's being kept in to block more than ever before. Obviously, there's a lot more wrong in Indianapolis right now, but that's one of the main reasons Clark's production is way down through five games. Well, that and no Peyton Manning.

There's no reason to have Clark in your starting lineup. The guy can play so there's always a chance he'll have a big game but the consistency simply isn't there. Clark's only solid game so far this year was against Cleveland and he's coming off a one-catch, seven-yard performance this past Sunday. In other words, things seem to be going from bad to worse for Clark owners.

Don't go as far as cutting Clark yet if you don't have to; he might get on a hot streak. However, if you're still starting Clark at this point your second tight end better be Brent Celek. And if your second tight end is Brent Celek, we need to talk.

Kevin Gilbride, Buddy Ryan KO victim -- Keep telling everyone Mario Manningham is further along than Victor Cruz. I like when people insult my intelligence. Oh, and keep throwing screen passes inside the 10-yard line. You would think after doing that for the past 30 years a person would realize it doesn't work. I told you last week to start Cruz and predicted he may outscore Hakeem Nicks. Keep starting Cruz. Manningham is worthless. As for Gilbride, no one was ever more in the right than Buddy Ryan when he unleashed a right hook on him for being a jerk. God, that was funny.

Kyle Orton, QB Broncos -- Speaking of insulting our intelligence, will John Fox still sit there with a straight face and tell us that Orton gives his team the best chance to win? No one bought that the first time you tried shoveling it out, John. By the way, isn't Brady Quinn the No. 2 quarterback in Denver? Yeah, we didn't buy that one either. I advised you to get Tim Tebow two weeks ago. If you didn't listen, do it now. A quarterback that plays the way Tebow does will always have fantasy value, regardless of whether or not he's going to be a successful NFL starter. Fantasy football is based on stats, not wins, and Tebow will put up enough stats to make owners happy.

Ernest Graham, RB Buccaneers -- As this goes to print LeGarrette Blount's status for Week 6 is in serious doubt. Graham has done a good job as a receiver out of the backfield this season, and if Blount can't go against the Saints, Graham's role will surely increase. Yes, I'm serious and don't call me Shirley.

David Nelson, WR Bills -- Nelson has been quiet of late but he did catch a touchdown pass last week and he'll see more targets now with Donald Jones out. The Giants couldn't stop Seattle's quarterbacks from throwing all over them, so Ryan Fitzpatrick should have a field day on Sunday.

Greg Little, WR Browns -- The Browns reportedly spent their bye week trying to get Little more involved in the offense. He's been promoted to a starting job, so Little should soon become the Browns top receiver. Although, that's not saying a whole heck of a lot.

Ed Dickson, TE Ravens -- Dickson has played pretty well through four games. If you have a starting tight end on a bye, he makes for a nice replacement this week. The Texans safeties can be exploited in coverage, so look for Dickson to have a solid outing.

Eagles defense -- Once a fantasy force, the Eagles defense has turned into a joke. However, before the Redskins bye week you could see Rex Grossman starting to come back down to earth. I have a hunch the Philly defense has its best fantasy performance to date against Washington.

For more average fantasy advice you can follow Thomas Casale on Twitter and Facebook or e-mail him at tcasale@mail.com.

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