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The Fire Sale: Foster shaking off early troubles to regain dominance

I don't have much to say this week. Sure, I would love to know why people over 70 are allowed to drive or why two minutes after I declared American Horror Story to be my new favorite show DirecTV announced they are dropping FX. I would love to get answers to those burning questions but I doubt you care, so I'll skip it.

I just want to address one thing. Last week I had Arian Foster coming down. I believe Foster is the best running back in the NFL along with Adrian Peterson. I also believe Foster is the best fantasy player, that's why I traded for him. However, two weeks ago against Baltimore he was in and out of the game, which prompted me to say either he isn't 100 or his coach is an idiot. I think that debate was cleared up on Sunday. Foster is obviously healthy, so ...

Sometimes I have studs coming down for a particular reason but that doesn't mean I don't think they're good fantasy players. It just means something about their situation concerns me. When I see the best back in football rotating series with Ben Tate I get concerned.

So Foster made me look like a douche. Big deal, I look like a douche all the time. I would rather have the 50 fantasy points. Hey, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.

Luckily, I have a lot of practice in that area. When you say stuff like Mike Tyson will get beat by Trevor Berbick way back in middle school, you learn how to eat crow at an early age. It gets easier over time.

Oh, and I had no idea whether to have Tim Tebow going up or coming down, so I just left him off. In 30 years of watching football I've never seen a guy throw a worse ball than Tebow. I have no idea how he ever completes a pass. I still say in two years Tebow will be out of the NFL and preaching on the Internet like Mike Seaver from Growing Pains.

Now, on with the Fire Sale ...

Shonn Greene, RB Jets -- If you got him, trade him. Greene's value won't get any higher than it is right now. Also, substitute "Plaxico Burress" for Greene and do the exact same thing. It's like Rodney Dangerfield said in Caddyshack: "They're all buying? Then sell, sell, sell!"

DeMarco Murray, RB Cowboys -- Last week I said I've seen enough of Felix Jones and that Murray should be the starting running back in Dallas. Now you see why. That wasn't bad for a first career start.

Yes, Murray was playing the Rams but if you watched the game, you saw the potential Murray possesses. If you tell me Jones runs the ball with the same authority Murray ran with on Sunday you need to watch more football because that isn't an accurate statement. Forget about the gaudy numbers (253 yards). It was just nice to see a Cowboys running back not dance in the backfield for a change.

So what does this all mean? Well, knowing Jerry Jones it means the average Jones will regain his starting job once he returns because Jerry can't admit he made a mistake drafting him over Chris Johnson and Rashard Mendenhall. Hey, you think that's why the owner and general manager shouldn't be the same person? You think maybe that's the reason Dallas hasn't won a darn thing in 16 years?

Like I said, I've seen enough of Jones (Both Jerry and Felix). I've also seen enough of Tashard Choice. Can someone explain why he's still touching the ball? The fact that teams were interested in trading for Choice is comical. The guy can't play. Then again, what do I know? I wasn't the one who drafted Quincy Carter in the second round when there were already rumors swirling that he had a raging drug problem.

Rams or no Rams, Murray is the most talented back on the Cowboys roster. Just remember this will be Murray's best game of the season by far, so keep your expectations in check. I mean if you have Murray and LeSean McCoy, you're still starting McCoy.

Also, don't be afraid to shop Murray. Like I said, it won't get any better than this so Murray's value is at an alltime high. You can bet I will be shopping Murray around this week to see what I can get for him.

Roy Helu, RB Redskins -- Sure, why not? Torain is brittle, so if you're going to take a shot on Helu, you might as well do it this week. I don't know if this is a Freudian slip but when I went through and edited that sentence originally said "If you're going to take a sh*t on Helu ..." Maybe God is trying to tell me something.

No one knows what Mike Shanahan is going to do. I'm an educated man but I'm afraid I can't speak intelligently about the coaching habits of Mike Shanahan. I would ask what movie that line is from but I tried that nonsense last week and got 100 e-mails, so I'm not doing that again.

Most people thought at some point this season Helu would be the main ballcarrier in Washington and it appears that day is coming. Torain will be the starter now that Tim Hightower is out for the year, but expect Helu's role to increase as well.

As we've seen in the past, Shanahan isn't against making a change from week-to-week. If Helu outperforms Torain one week, he could be the starter the next. Listen, this isn't rocket science. In terms of talent, it's not even close. Helu possesses way more physical tools than Torain. However, Torain has more experience in the Redskins offense, so he'll get first crack at being the lead back.

So Washington is going with Torain at running and John Beck at quarterback and they want us to take that team seriously? You know what? If I were Daniel Snyder I would fire Shanahan tomorrow because with that offense the team has no chance of winning anything.

Put the ego aside, coach, and stop using practice squad players so people will say you're a genius. Your job is to win football games. When you did, you were a genius. Now you're just the guy who won two Super Bowls because you had John Elway.

Keiland Williams, RB Lions -- If you remember, way back at the end of August I told you to keep an eye on Williams this year. Here's what I said before the start of the season about Williams:

"Now, it's anyone's guess which running back in Detroit will get most of the carries once Jahvid Best gets hurt but Williams is an intriguing candidate. At 230 pounds, Williams brings more power to the table than Jerome Harrison or Maurice Morris. He's also a solid receiver out of the backfield, meaning Williams could see significant touches when Best goes down.

"Keep an eye on Williams. His skill set is a nice fit for the Lions offense and he could end up being a huge fantasy sleeper down the line."

Williams brings the best combination of running and pass catching skills to the table out of all the Lions running back options at this point. Williams and Morris each got nine carries on Sunday, but with Best's immediate future unclear, I think Williams is the better long-term option.

The Lions love Morris because he's such a good pass protector, and when you throw the ball all the time like Detroit does, that's going to get you on the field. As a runner, though, I think Williams is more talented, and sooner or later the Lions will have to run the ball a little. Matthew Stafford can't pass on every down or he's going to get killed ... again.

A lot of people rushed out to grab Morris last week, and while he certainly has some value, I like Williams a little more. I believe he's the Lions back with the most upside. In the event Best is out for a while look for Williams to start getting more and more touches in the coming weeks.

Jabar Gaffney, WR Redskins -- Looking back at last week's Fire Sale, I really wasn't right about a whole lot. One of the few things I didn't screw up was telling you to try to deal Santana Moss if you could.

Obviously, I didn't know Moss was going to get injured but that's beside the point. When you tell people to trade Arian Foster, you have to take what you can get. Now Moss has a broken hand, which will likely sideline him for the rest of the fantasy season, opening the door for Gaffney.

I know Gaffney well from my time in New England. Gaffney is always my example of an average receiver. I actually don't mean that as an insult. Not everyone is talented enough to be Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. In my opinion Gaffney gets the most out of his talent, he just doesn't have a lot of it. He's average.

Gaffney now becomes the No. 1 receiver in Washington, which is equivalent to being the top Republican candidate for President. While Gaffney will now draw the defense's best cover guy, he should also see more targets, so it's a bit of a good news, bad news situation for Gaffney.

Gaffney only has value in PPR leagues. He'll snag some short passes but Gaffney isn't going anywhere with the ball once he catches it. However, if you play in a PPR league and you're looking for a guy to score you 12-15 points, Gaffney isn't a bad flex play. Those 12-15 points was all Moss was giving you most games anyway, so there probably won't be much of a drop-off with Gaffney.

Charlie Whitehurst, QB Seahawks -- We were all wondering why Tarvaris Jackson was starting. Now we know. Thanks for clearing up that mystery, Charlie. One of the worst performances I've ever seen. Stop getting the ball knocked down at the line of scrimmage for Christ sakes. When you look so bad that Jackson starts to look good, well, that says it all right there.

Matthew Stafford, QB Lions -- Stafford suffered an ankle injury on the final play of the Lions loss to the Falcons Sunday but that's not why he's on the list. Let's face it, Stafford lasted longer without getting hurt than any of us thought he would. Stafford is on the list because he's been so-so in three of his last four games.

I'm not going to put this all on Stafford. Unless you're the Packers, when a team can't run the football at all, it usually catches up with them. Stafford is good but he's not Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady/Peyton Manning good to the point of playing out of his mind with a running game that goes nowhere.

Stafford is in that second-tier of quarterbacks right now. He'll put up big numbers, but over a 16-game season guys like him are going to go through rough patches. Those bad streaks are magnified when you can't run the ball.

Best is a big loss for Detroit's offense. I know they didn't run the ball well with Best in there but at least he provided a big-play threat. Plus, Best caught a ton of passes on checkdowns from Stafford. Best was Stafford's security blanket. He could take a short pass and turn it into a huge gain.

Right now that void is hurting Stafford and the Lions offense overall. Those short dump-offs to Best helped slow down the pass rush and mask the problems on the Lions offensive line. That's one of the reasons I like Williams getting more reps moving forward. He's a better receiver out of the backfield than Morris.

Stafford is still going to have his share of big games moving forward but at this point I think he's gone from a Top 10 must-start to a matchup play if you have another solid fantasy quarterback on your roster.

Eric Decker, WR Broncos -- Receivers in Denver aren't going to catch a lot of passes when every ball thrown to them looks like it was shot out of the air by a missile. The only receiver who wins in this situation is Brandon Lloyd. Who would have thought getting traded to St. Louis would be the best thing to ever happen to a player?

Oh, and for all the media morons saying Tebow led the Broncos to a win, think again. The hero of that game was Daniel Fells, who laid out and made a diving catch to haul in the worst pass ever thrown by a starting NFL quarterback.

If you think Tebow can play in the NFL I'd remind you of the play in which he overthrew a wide-open Decker. If you didn't see it Decker was in the clear for what would have been an easy long touchdown reception. You know how sometimes a quarterback will overthrow a wide-open receiver by a couple of yards? Well, Tebow missed him by a good 15 yards. It was like his fluttering duck of a pass grew wings and flew away.

Someday Decker will return to being a good fantasy receiver. The only problem is that day likely won't come until 2012.

Chris Johnson, RB Titans -- Johnson keeps telling us he's the same back he's always been. So he's always been an average running back? I don't think so.

I don't remember too many times in recent years where 10 carries for 18 yards has become the norm for Johnson. A lot of people have been buying low on him, and to be honest, that wasn't a bad strategy. Still, we're now halfway through the season and Johnson has yet to break out. I think it's officially time to start worrying.

In his last four games Johnson has only gone over 100 yards once. His other three games during that span were fantasy killers of 51, 21 and 18 yards. Johnson still catches the ball but he's not going anywhere with it. Actually, he isn't going anywhere in general and I think that's the problem.

Johnson is missing some of his speed. In my opinion Johnson was by far the most dangerous open field runner in the NFL. The only guy you could even put in his class would be DeSean Jackson. This year, though, I'm not seeing the same explosiveness out of Johnson. He used to run into a line and if nothing was there Johnson would outrun defenders to the edge. He's not doing that this year.

Johnson also isn't making defenders miss in the open field like he has in previous seasons. He simply doesn't look like the same player. Is he still good? Of course. Does he look like he's superhuman? Not so much anymore.

Johnson can still go 80 yards in a blink of an eye, so there's always a chance for a huge game from him. The consistency just isn't there, though, and right now Johnson is a far cry from a premier fantasy running back. I really don't want to live in a world where James Stewart is a better fantasy play than Johnson but that's where we're at this point in our lives.

If Johnson insists he's the same back, my question would be has Javon Ringer always been better than you?

Ryan Mathews, RB Chargers -- How many injuries do you think Mathews and Malcom Floyd will have combined by the end of the season? I'm setting the over/under at 12.5. Floyd annoys because he's one of those guys who's always dealing with a pulled something or a sprained something else. It looks like Mathews is one of those guys too.

Mathews is a productive fantasy player when he's healthy. Of course, I can say the same thing about Beanie Wells. I've been a big fan of Mathews since his college days but like I always say: If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck ...

By the way, the world makes sense again. On Sunday all the regulars were injured. You know the planets are aligned when Stafford, Mathews, Floyd, Beanie and Darren McFadden all get injured on the same day. Thanks guys, no need to order that Doomsday bunker after all.

Santonio Holmes, WR Jets -- I waited as long as I could on Holmes. I've probably waited a lot longer than most because I think he's one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. However, for whatever reason, Holmes isn't getting the ball thrown to him right now.

Holmes caught just two passes against the Chargers on Sunday and in his last four games he has a total of 12 receptions and hasn't eclipsed 63 yards. Holmes has scored twice over that span to help save fantasy owners a bit but he isn't producing like most thought he would this year.

Since I'm a little bit crazy I'll actually try and trade for him this week. However, I can't advise doing the same. Like I said, those of you who e-mail me know I've stuck with Holmes all year long but right now he's flat-out killing fantasy owners.

I know the Jets have won two games in a row but this team still has the look of a club in a bit of trouble offensively. At some point I still have to believe Holmes will once again become a big part of the offense but I've been saying that all season and it hasn't happened so who knows?

Unless I can pull the old reverse jinx on Holmes like I did last week with Foster, it's probably best to bench him if you have better options. Fantasy owners can only take weeks of fewer than 10 points for so long before they have to stop the bleeding.

Indianapolis Colts -- Are we still blaming Peyton Manning for Jim Caldwell being completely lost as a coach? It's funny because Tom Brady got hurt a couple of years ago and I don't remember the Patriots getting blasted 62-7. I think we all thought Manning was a quasi-coach on offense but what's happening in Indianapolis right now is downright disgraceful. Oh well, I guess it's the Colts might as well keep Caldwell for the rest of the year and try for Andrew Luck. How many teams are going after Luck now? It seems like the list grows by 10 every week. Needless to say, the fantasy value of every Colts player is at an alltime low.

Tony Sparano, Dolphins coach -- Word is Sparano may get fired soon. That would really put me in a tough spot. Sparano accounts for roughly 30 percent of my material. What's next? Leslie Frazier gets fired, too? Boy, at this rate I'm actually going to have to put a little work into writing this column. So long Tony, it's only a matter of days now. I would say I hope Sparano never gets another coaching job but with the Old Boy's Network that runs roughshod throughout the NFL, he'll end up on some team's staff. He's returning to Dallas, isn't he?

Alex Smith, QB 49ers -- Now that he has a real coaching staff, Smith is actually having a strong season. I have to admit, I'm so used to him stinking I didn't even realize he was playing well until a couple of weeks ago. The Browns just got done facing Charlie Whitehurst. Playing against a quarterback with a heartbeat will be culture shock to that defense.

Knowshon Moreno, RB Broncos -- With Willis McGahee out Moreno once again becomes the starter. One thing Tebow has shown in his few starts is that he likes to check down to Moreno. While Moreno may not do much on the ground, I'm guessing he catches five or six balls against the Lions. If you're in a PPR league Moreno makes for a sneaky flex play this week. I guess that's why he's a "Sneaky Start."

Deion Branch, WR Patriots -- If you've ever seen the Pats play the Steelers, you know not to expect them to run the ball much. Tom Brady and Branch have had huge games against the Steelers defense in the past. I don't see that changing on Sunday.

Robert Meachem, WR Saints -- I like to put Meachem on this list once every few weeks. Meachem usually has one nice game a month. He's been garbage recently but I just got off the phone with the Rams and they signed me to play corner on Sunday. If Meachem is going to have a big game this will be the week.

Torrey Smith, WR Ravens -- Listen, Smith is supposed to be a deep threat, right? If you're a deep threat and you can't get open on the Cardinals secondary, it's time to go back to the bench.

Titans defense -- I'm back to fading the Colts. Hey, if it's not broke, don't fix it.

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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