Battle Of The Bulger: Fantasy Clicks
Marc Bulger: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Scott Linehan's reign of error may be over in St. Louis, but don't expect any radical changes with Al Saunders' expansive, but historically brilliant offense -- outside of Marc Bulger (just 2 TDs and 519 in '08) reclaiming his starting gig over Trent Green (persona non grata in fantasyland last week). Bulger missed only one week's work, likely prompting a handful of snarky or bitter owners to wonder: Bulger didn't play against the Bills on Sunday? -- a clear signal they'd rather start Tyler Thigpen or Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former Rams backup, ahead of the shell-shocked Bulger (sacked 12 times in three games). Sad but true: The once-great Bulger (at least in fantasyland) will be lucky to throw for 17 TDs and 2,200 yards this season -- and that's assuming Steven Jackson (188 total yards, 1 TD on Sunday) stays healthy, aging-before-our-eyes receiver Torry Holt (only 15 catches in four games) stays upright and rookie WR Donnie Avery stays ahead of the Rams' no-names on the depth chart.
1. Peyton Manning vs. Houston
2. Matt Schaub vs. Indianapolis
3. Philip Rivers vs. Miami
4. Donovan McNabb vs. Washington
5. Jay Cutler vs. Tampa Bay
6. Kurt Warner vs. Buffalo
7. Tony Romo vs. Cincinnati
8. Drew Brees vs. Minnesota
In the wake of Ronnie Brown and Brett Favre combining for 11 TDs prior to their respective bye weeks ... I know that somewhere in fantasyland, at least one owner had the against-all-odds misfortune of sitting both Brown (5 TDs in Week 3) and Favre (6 TDs in Week 4) during their once-in-a-lifetime days (oh, the humanity!). But before he/she takes a shotgun to their laptop computer in frustration, I have some excellent consolation news -- an insider's tip, if you will: Using recent history as our guide, either Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo), Chris Johnson(Tennessee), Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City), Ben Roethlisberger or Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh) is due for a 7-TD performance in Week 5. How do I know this? The above players all have byes the following week.
1. Adrian Peterson vs. New Orleans
2. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Miami
3. Reggie Bush vs. Minnesota
4. Frank Gore vs. New England
5. Marion Barber vs. Cincinnati
6. Marshawn Lynch vs. Arizona
7. Brian Westbrook vs. Washington (assuming he's healthy enough to start)
8. Brandon Jacobs vs. Seattle
9. Ronnie Brown vs. San Diego
10. Matt Forte vs. Detroit
11. Larry Johnson vs. Carolina
Not to belabor the point, but Targets are a must-know for fantasy owners -- especially in PPR leagues. This underrated stat is the best way to safeguard against one-hit wonders during a long, long, long fantasy season. To wit, SI.com presents a list of the 20 pass-catchers (including three tight ends) who are averaging at least 9.3 Targets per game (excluding Nate Burleson, who's lost for the year to injury):
1. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos (16.0 Targets)
2. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (11.8 Targets)
3. WR Steve Smith, Panthers (11.5 Targets)
4. WR Santana Moss, Redskins (11.3 Targets)
5. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (11.3 Targets)
6. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (10.8 Targets)
7. WR Plaxico Burress, Giants (10.3 Targets)
8. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (10.0 Targets)
9. WR Eddie Royal, Broncos (10.0 Targets)
10. WR Terrell Owens, Cowboys (10.0 Targets)
11. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers (10.0 Targets)
12. WR Derrick Mason, Ravens (9.7 Targets)
13. WR Amani Toomer, Giants (9.7 Targets)
14. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys (9.5 Targets)
15. TE Kellen Winslow, Browns (9.5 Targets)
16. WR Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers (9.3 Targets)
17. WR Roddy White, Falcons (9.3 Targets)
18. WR Wes Welker, Patriots (9.3 Targets)
19. WR Marvin Harrison, Colts (9.3 Targets)
20. TE Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (9.3 Targets)
I won't address the subject in great length for today's Clicks. But on Friday, we'll explore the realistic Week 5 projections for Bengals backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick -- in the wake of Carson Palmer's potentially damaging elbow injury. (UPDATE: Carson says he'll play Sunday against Dallas, if the team doctors say it's OK)
Brandon Marshall: AP
Nick in Atlanta asks: I need WR help badly in a 3 WR league. I have a trade on the table involving Marques Colston, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow for Steven Jackson and Justin Gage. Should I do it? I am set at RB with Marion Barber and Marshawn Lynch. I was thinking of trading Barber for a #1 and #2 WR. I am starting Brandon Marhsall, but then David Patten and Amani Toomer. Help!!!
Answer: Nick, if I'm reading you correctly, you would land Colston, Braylon and Winslow from the 5-player swap. If that's the case -- and given the fact Barber, Lynch and Marshall are automatic starters -- I would drop what you're doing immediately ... and go accept the deal! Yes, giving up S-Jax is a huge risk; but you can absorb the hit with Lynch and Barber (two Tier I talents) in your backfield and an unstoppable (at least on paper) quartet of pass-catchers Marshall, Colston, Edwards and K2 at tight end. I say ... roll the dice!
Corey in New York wonders: I am 2-2 right now and looking to become a top 2 team in my league. I have Jay Cutler and Tony Romo at QB, so would it be worth moving one of them ... and what could I expect in return? I am pretty set with Adrian Peterson, Steve Slaton, Michael Turner and LenDale White at RB. But I only have Santonio Holmes, Eddie Royal and Donald Driver at WR.
Answer: Corey, if you were sitting on a 4-0 juggernaut with little flaws, I would have recommended keeping Cutler and Romo -- while just playing the hot hand from week to week. But there's no real benefit in having great QB depth in fantasy football -- especially when other good ones can be plucked off the waiver wire. Here's the gameplan: Send a mass email to the other league owners, declaring that Romo and Cutler are both on the market ... and just sit back coyly and wait for the best offer. One word of caution: DO NOT TRADE Cutler to Brandon Marshall's owner; that handcuff will end up killing you in the playoffs.
Mary in Waco, Texas has to know: Who would you start week 5 if you had these four quarterbacks? Peyton Manning against the Texans, Aaron Rodgers (assuming he's starting) against Atlanta, Jason Campbell against Philly or Jake Delhomme against the Chiefs. I'm leaning toward Delhomme ...
Answer: Mary, in order of preference, I'd go 1) Peyton, 2) Delhomme, 3) Rodgers (if he's playing) and 4) Campbell (only because I think the Eagles will smoke the 'Skins, 34-3).
Stephen in Charleston, S.C. asks: I'd like your opinion on a trade I've been offered: I'd be giving away Brett Favre, Michael Turner and Donald Driver for Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Derek Anderson and Jerious Norwood. Donovan McNabb is already my starting QB.
Answer: Stephen, it's my nature to be conservative when doling out trade advice (since I don't have full access to your roster). However, this looks like a sensible swap for your side -- you get the uncoverable (is that even a word?) Calvin, the red-hot Marshawn, plus Jerious and Anderson, at the expense of three solid, but largely inconsistent players. But before you accept this deal, have you thought about offering Favre -- straight up for Lynch (or someone of his caliber) -- to a myopic Jets or Packers fan? This way, you'd get to keep Turner, who is absolutely lights-out at home.
Corey in Green Bay wonders: What do you think of this potential trade: Maurice Jones-Drew and T.J. Houshmandzadeh for Frank Gore and Marvin Harrison? I'm on the MoJo side of things, looking to pick up Gore and Harrison.
Answer: Corey, as long as Carson Palmer is a week-to-week risk, there is no justification for keeping Housh (and MJD) over Harrison (averaging 9.3 targets per game) and Gore (525 yards, 2 TDs), one of the short-list candidates for fantasy MVP after four games. I say ... do the deed and don't look back!
1. Ryan Longwell vs. New Orleans
2. Nick Folk vs. Cincinnati
3. Rian Lindell vs. Arizona
4. John Kasay vs. Kansas City
5. Jason Hanson vs. Chicago
6. Rob Bironas vs. Baltimore
7. Mason Crosby vs. Atlanta
8. Neil Rackers vs. Buffalo
9. Kris Brown vs. Indianapolis
Last week, I offered specific predictions for Week 4 -- some pure gold and others that flopped worse than Makin' It, the wreteched, disco-themed sitcom from 1979 starring a very-young David Naughton. How bad was this show? I'll let you be the judge.
WR Locks For 110 Yards and/or 1 TD
1. Steve Smith (96 yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
2. Anquan Boldin (119 yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
3. David Patten (21 yards -- wayyyy off!)
4. Braylon Edwards (22 yards, 1 TD -- correct ... but I don't feel good about myself)
5. Chad Johnson (28 yards, 1 TD -- correct ... but I'm nauseous)
6. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (50 yards, 0 TDs -- wrong)
7. Dwayne Bowe (85 yards -- wrong)
8. Lee Evans (88 yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
9. Santana Moss (145 yards, 0 TDs -- correct!)
10. Terrell Owens (82 total yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
11. Santonio Holmes (61 yards, 1 TD -- correct!
Five Players Who'll Disappoint
1. Marion Barber (37 total yards -- correct!)
2. Philip Rivers (180 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT -- judgment call)
3. Adrian Peterson (101 total yards, 2 TDs -- wrong)
4. Michael Turner (55 total yards, 0 TDs -- correct!)
5. Andre Johnson (3 catches, 38 yards, 0 TDs -- correct!)
Five Unsung RB/WR/TEs Who'll Score 1 TD
1. WR Brandon Stokley (80 yards, 0 TDs -- wrong)
2. WR Donald Driver (1 catch, 8 yards -- kill me now!)
3. RB Fred Jackson (55 total yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
4. TE Bo Scaife (3 catches, 17 yards -- wrong)
5. TE Zach Miller (95 yards, 1 TD -- correct!)
The Rams franchise originated in which city?
Sure, fantasy owners could access the following list of top 10 QBs by passing yardage, anytime and anywhere. But it never hurts to detail the 10 signal-callers who are on pace (or right on the cusp) for 4,000 yards this season. It goes without saying, none of these names should be on your waiver wire after Thursday (or whenever claims are done):
1. Drew Brees, Saints (1,343 yards)
2. Jay Cutler, Broncos (1,274 yards)
3. Kurt Warner, Cardinals (1,222 yards)
4. Tony Romo, Cowboys (1,192 yards)
5. Donovan McNabb, Eagles (1,110 yards)
6. Philip Rivers, Chargers (1,024 yards)
7. J.T. O'Sullivan, 49ers (962 yards)
8. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (961 yards)
9. Brett Favre, Jets (935 yards)
10. Trent Edwards, Bills (930 yards)
The answer is C. The now St. Louis Rams were founded in the football-mad, rust-belt city of Cleveland in 1937.
On the Saints-49ers: Drew Brees had a monster game ... it looks like he could line up Larry/Moe/Curly at WR and still have a 300-yard day. Lance Moore broke out like a fat teenager with 101 yards and 2 TDs and Brees racked up 363 and 3 scores ... Reggie Bush only had 38 total yards this week and didn't get within a mile of the endzone. This sucks. Just when Bush started to look like a stud, we get this crap?
On Brett Favre's career-best for TD passes: Maybe Brett Favre should roll his ankle every week. He comes back off the ankle injury and throws for 289 yards and SIX TOUCHDOWNS! He scored more than Peter North! He hit Laveranues Coles whenever he wanted to and then hit Jerricho Cotchery when that got boring. Just for good measure, he hits Dustin Keller for numero seis! Arizona couldn't stop Oprah from throwing touchdowns on 'em.
On the hard-to-watch Battle of Ohio: With Carson Palmer out, Cincy had not a snowball's chance in hizzell to win this one. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who interestingly enough was working as a Taco Bell manager before this week, was the starter for Cincy ... no wonder they only scored 12 points. I'll take a crunch-wrap supreme Ryan, thank you. Derek Anderson sucked yet again this week ... can we please get a Brady Quinn start?
On the baffling Broncos: Denver looked like the AFC team to beat and K.C. looked like a really bad Arena league team heading into this one. Larry Johnson blows up for 198 yards and 2 TDs and the Donkos look lost. How hard is it to figure out how to stop the Chiefs? Take Johnson away and they're done. The Donkos couldn't do it ... Denver is going to have to work on that defense or they're in big, big trouble heading forward.
On the Cowboys ignoring Marion Barber in their loss to the 'Skins: I have no idea why those moron Cowboys didn't run the ball. Marion Barber only had 8 carries for 26 yards and Felix Jones didn't get a single carry. Running game anyone? How do you just abandon that? They could have run, run, run and controlled the game. Who was the rocket scientist that decided to not give Barber the rock? Back to the drawing board, Moe-Ron!
Slowly but surely, Fantasy Clicks will delve into the thrilling, yet mentally exhausting world of fantasy NBA hoops (most drafts occur right before Halloween). Today's topic -- a national publication's top-20 ranking of guards (in 5x5 roto leagues) -- excluding injured playmakers Monta Ellis and Manu Ginobili, who will likely miss two months to recover from ankle surgery:
1. Chris Paul, Hornets
2. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
3. Steve Nash, Suns
4. Deron Williams, Jazz
5. Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
6. Dwyane Wade, Heat
7. Joe Johnson, Hawks
8. Allen Iverson, Nuggets
9. Vince Carter, Nets
10. Baron Davis, Clippers
11. Jose Calderon, Raptors
12. Jason Richardson, Bobcats
13. Kevin Martin, Kings
14. Andre Iguodala, 76ers
15. Jason Kidd, Mavericks
16. Chauncey Billups, Pistons
17. Mike Miller, Timberwolves
18. Michael Redd, Bucks
19. Devin Harris, Nets
20. Jamal Crawford, Knicks