Kerry Collins: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
In case you missed the memo, it's official: There's a new sheriff in the AFC South.
The Titans' 31-21 Monday night win over the Colts is going to resonate across the league. Not only are the 7-0 Titans the team to beat, but several of their players are completely legit from a fantasy perspective and deserve a fresh look at their values.
Leading 14-6 in the third quarter, the Colts spiraled while the Titans hit another gear en route to 17 straight points that iced the game. Kerry Collins was efficient while leading the Titans' second-half comeback, finishing 24-for-37 for 197 yards. He's a consummate game-manager -- and possibly the perfect quarterback for the Titans' system. He's still not a great fantasy option, but two of his prime targets are on the rise.
Oddly, both of those targets are tight ends. Bo Scaife caught five passes for 44 yards and looked like Collins' most reliable option. Alge Crumpler caught four balls for 35 yards, and even though it was his first game with more than two receptions this season, he's worth keeping on eye on as the Titans move forward.
It's still the Titans' runners who warrant fantasy owners' full attention. Chris Johnson (19 carries, 77 yards, one score) is the real deal, and just might snag Rookie of the Year honors before it's all said and done. LenDale White -- the same LenDale White I repeatedly deemed a terrible fantasy play earlier this season -- continues to prove me wrong. He found paydirt twice on Monday night, including a nice effort on this one-yard score. Apparently the Titans realized if they put a doughnut in the end zone and hand LenDale the ball, he'll go get it. Hey, hey hey. I kid because I love.
On the other sideline, the Colts offense has struggled this year, and ranked a stunning dead-last in rushing offense entering the game (70.0 yards per game). Strange things sometimes happen on Monday night, but the Colts still look like an offense that's just not clicking.
Indy finished with 94 total rushing yards against the Titans, so their league ranking doesn't stand to improve much. Peyton Manning totaled three touchdowns and had his moments, but just couldn't lead the Colts back for one of their patented fourth-quarter rallies.
Hard to believe, but Dallas Clark's first-quarter touchdown was his first of the season, and first in 10 games against the Titans. He snared another score in the third quarter and finished with seven grabs for 94 yards. He was the Colts most consistent threat, as Reggie Wayne caught just three passes and Marvin Harrison was almost invisible.
The Colts offense, of course, still has potential. I currently have Manning ranked as my No. 5 quarterback from now to the end of the year (behind Brees, Cutler, Warner and McNabb) but I'm wondering if that's a little too high. Wayne and Clark are elite options at their positions, but I'd consider trading away everyone else in this offense because their "name" exceeds their value.
From high atop his perch in the studio booth, TV man Tony Kornheiser said early in the game that despite the better record, the pressure in this game was on the Titans; they were the team with much more to prove. This was their chance to take a three-game division lead on the Colts and send clear message to the rest of the league in the process.
These guys might be available in your league and are worth adding immediately.Donnie Avery, WR, Rams. It's the second week in a row that Avery makes this list, but after his six-catch, 163-yard, one TD day against the Patriots, you'll now have to make a large bid or use an early waiver claim to snag him. He's still probably worth it.
Antonio Pittman, RB, Rams. Two Rams in the Go Get 'Em section for the first time this year. Pittman's value is virtually nothing if Steven Jackson returns this week, but in his first starting opportunity, Pittman finished with 105 total yards against the Pats.
Matt Jones, WR, Jaguars. He's been pretty consistent, and the Jags get the Bengals and Lions in the next two weeks.
Ted Ginn Jr. , WR, Dolphins. It took eight weeks, but Ginn finally delivered the breakout I predicted way back in preseason. Seven catches for 175 yards in a Dolphins offense that is suddenly multidimensional. Time to see if he's on your waiver wire.
Leon Washington, RB, Jets. Three touchdowns in the last two weeks and he's getting more involved in the Jets offense. Anyone who owns incumbent starter Thomas Jones should look to add Washington pronto.
Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers. Hill came in for J.T. O'Sullivan in the second half of the loss to the Seahawks and played well. The Niners are off in Week 9 before traveling to the QB-friendly Cardinals in Week 10. Word out of San Fran is Hill will keep the starting gig, and he's a decent sleeper if you're desperate at quarterback.
Tyler Thigpen, QB, Chiefs. Or, if you're really desperate, you could take a flier on Thigpen, who had his first big game on Sunday against the Jets and continues to be the only healthy QB in Kansas City.
Jaguars, DST. Pretty good schedule the next two weeks. More on that below.
Thomas Jones: Jeffery Geller/Icon SMI
1) Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. Even though he's missed the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, I still think the bottom of Addai's value is still ahead. It's unclear if he'll be back next week, or the week after, but either way Dominic Rhodes has played fairly well; he's going to eat into Addai's carries whenever the oft-injured back returns to the field. Plus, the offensive line is having issues, and the Colts are flat-out struggling to run the ball. Make the move now.
2) Matt Schaub, QB, Texans. Just a classic, sell-high opportunity. He's fresh off two weeks of destroying the winless Lions and the winless Bengals. The schedule is going to get tougher.
3) Thomas Jones, RB, Jets. Leon Washington is younger, quicker, healthier and better. But other than that, I see no reason why Jones won't keep the starting job in New York.
1) Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals. Hey, did you see Edgerrin James 17-yard, one fumble stinker on Sunday? The Hightower era in Arizona is getting closer.
2) Ryan Torain, RB, Broncos. Admittedly, this is a flyer pick, but Torain is reportedly healthy and set to be activated this week. I'm not sure he's going to change the state of the Broncos' backfield split, but he'll get a share of the carries. If he's able to set himself apart from Michael Pittman, Selvin Young and Andre "Crisco" Hall, his role could quickly expand.
3) Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars. He managed just 48 yards Sunday against the Browns, but good news in on the horizon: Back-to-back games with the Bengals and Lions the next two weeks. Enjoy.
Chiefs' running back Larry Johnson was charged Monday with simple assault for spitting a drink in a woman's face at a Kansas City nightclub. It's the fourth time in five years Johnson has been charged with assault, and for that reason, you can probably expect commissioner Goodell to slap L.J. with a suspension, possibly as soon as Tuesday. I didn't include them in the "Go Get 'Em" section this week, but if either Jamaal Charles or Kolby Smith is lurking on your league's waiver wire, it's time to make a move for them.
It's time to start planning ahead for the fantasy season's homestretch. Here are four teams with great schedules over next four weeks:
Week 9: at Bengals
Week 10: at Lions
Week 11: Titans
Week 12: Vikings
Week 9: Dolphins
Week 10: at Browns
Week 11: at Falcons
Week 12: Raiders
Week 9: at Raiders
Week 10: Saints
Week 11: Broncos
Week 12: Panthers
Week 9: at Broncos
Week 10: Seahawks
Week 11: Raiders
Week 12: Patriots
Apparently Daunte Culpepper won't be under center in Kansas City anytime soon. Most reports say the Chiefs lost interest, but there are rumors the "retired" quarterback broke off contract talks while citing another opportunity with a better team. This must mean either the Toronto Argonauts are planning to sign 'Pep sometime this week ... or maybe it will be the Cowboys? Stay tuned.
If you were an owner who pinned their fantasy season on the Seahawks' offense, by now you're probably out of playoff contention. But if you're still alive and own Matt Hasselbeck, the news out of Seattle is not good: the quarterback is in L.A. visiting a back surgeon, which leaves Seneca Wallace as the starting quarterback for this week and the foreseeable future. Wallace had a nice game against the Niners on Sunday (15-for-25, 222 yards, 1 TD), but with Philadelphia their strong D coming to town this week, I'd avoid starting any 'Hawks on your fantasy team.