Getting to know you: Fantasy Clicks

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Recent Fantasy Clicks 12-10-08: Getting To Know You 12-09-08: Sweet Home Carolina 12-08-08: Week 14 revelations 12-05-08: Week 14's Thursday revelations 12-04-08: Andrew Bynum heating up L.A. 12-03-08: Playoff rules to live by 12-02-08: The Second Season 12-01-08: Week 13 Revelations 11-26-08: Opportunity knicks 11-25-08: Thunderous changes in Oklahoma City 11-24-08: Week 12 revelations 11-21-08: Thursday night revelations 11-20-08: Thursday night revelations 11-19-08: Must-see TV? 11-18-08: Too legit to quit 11-17-08: Week 11 revelations 11-14-08: Jet-setting Revelations 11-13-08: The rich get surgery 11-12-08: Four commandments of trading 11-11-08: Cards are who we thought they were 11-10-08: Week 10 revelations 11-07-08: The Cutler did it 11-06-08: Golden Nuggets 11-05-08: Regret in the making 11-04-08: A costly win for the Steelers 11-03-08: Week 9 revelations 10-31-08: Into the great wide open 10-30-08: Planning makes perfect 10-29-08: The last temptation of Kurt Warner 10-28-08: A titanic statement on Monday night 10-27-08: Week 8 revelations 10-24-08: 'Tis better to receive 10-23-08: It's getting drafty in here 10-22-08: We won't get fooled again 10-21-08: Pats turn back the clock 10-20-08: Week 7 revelations 10-17-08: Johnson & Johnson 10-16-08: Who's next? 10-15-08: Deadline deal 10-14-08: Romo and Pinkie-gate 10-13-08: Week 6 Revelations 10-10-08: Clash of the titans 10-09-08: Not your father's microfracture surgery 10-08-08: Brian's Song 10-06-08: Week 5 revelations 10-03-08: Kiss and tell

Getting To Know You

Clinton Portis: AP

At this stage in the fantasy game, there are likely three types of people reading today's Clicks:
1. You've qualified for your league's 4-team playoffs ...
2. You've advanced to the semifinals of your 6- or 8-team league playoffs ...
3. Your name is Greg Crawford, a loyal Clicks reader and excitable Steelers honk ... and you're waiting on pins and needles for more references to Real Genius starring Val Kilmer, easily the most underrated comedy of the 1980s.

Now that I've established 99.9 percent of our core audience, let's get down to business.

Week 15 Rules To Live By

1. Be weary of a Panthers hangover: Unless you've been living under a large rock that didn't come equipped with a flat-screen TV and a cable hookup, you're likely aware of how Carolina -- led by the awesome tag-team of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart -- rushed for a jaw-dropping 299 yards against the typically stout Bucs in the NFC game of the year Monday night. So, after such an impressive performance on national TV, it's easy to assume Carolina will post similarly stellar numbers against Denver in Week 15, right? Wrong. The Panthers, in my opinion, are ripe for a major letdown -- perhaps looking ahead to the 11-2 Giants in Week 16 or just being mentally and physically exhausted from all the media hype leading up to this game. Whatever the case, go ahead and start Williams and WR Steve Smith against a suspect defense (with or without Champ Bailey) -- but don't be shocked when either one fails to generate 100 total yards come Sunday afternoon.

2. Don't let weather psyche you out (at least this week): By my count, only four of the 16 games, maximum, should be adversely affected by bad weather in Week 15 -- New Orleans @ Chicago, Buffalo @ N.Y. Jets, Cleveland @ Philadelphia and Washington @ Cincinnati. So, unless you own Reggie Bush, Drew Brees, Braylon Edwards, Donovan McNabb, Clinton Portis or T.J. Houshmandzadeh ... don't let weather mess with your head when choosing a best-case scenario starting lineup. In other words, play your healthy studs!

The Desert Foxes

No game on the Week 15 slate has grabbed my attention like Vikings @ Cardinals, featuring two teams with 8-5 records but completely different tales of they arrived to this point. Arizona, by nature, is a pass-first, pass-second team that uses the pass to set up the run. Minnesota, in turn, is a run-first, run-second club that uses the run to set up ... uh, more runs (you'd do the same if Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor comprised your backfield). Assuming Arizona isn't suffering from its own hangover after capturing the franchise's first division title in 33 years -- or five presidents ago -- I fully expect Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston to each tally at least six passes for 70 yards ... meaning Kurt Warner is an even-money threat to throw for 350 yards. And, assuming Minnesota doesn't get snowed in at the Minneapolis airport -- on the way to sunny Phoenix -- then Peterson and Taylor both have the capacity for 100 total yards and one touchdown. Am I crazy? Our friends at Accuscore weigh in with their own (conservative) estimates:

Warner: 294 passing yards, 1.79 TDs
Fitzgerald: 6 catches, 84 yards, 0.81 TDs
Boldin: 7 catches, 89 yards, 0.66 TDs
Peterson: 120 total yards, 0.76 TDs
C. Taylor: 35 total yards, 0.21 TDs
Final Score: Arizona 25, Minnesota 21

Jeff Ritter Must Be Stopped

I'm happy to report I went 7-1 last week in my eight fantasy leagues -- with six of the wins coming in the playoffs. The one loss, as humorously reported in Tuesday's Clicks, occurred in the & Friends league ... at the hands of fellow fantasy honk Jeff Ritter. Now, I could sit here (while watching late-night infomercials) and lie straight-face, saying the seven victories have far greater meaning than one random defeat to a guy who proudly owns 100 T-shirts from America's best putt-putt golf courses ... but I'll be dammned if that last-second, gut-wrenching loss hasn't bummed me out for three days. Of course, no matter how bitter I'll become leading up to Sunday, when I'm mired in our Loser's Bracket tourney -- and the bitterness is quite palpable right now -- let's not lose sight of how exhilarating fantasy football can be, win or lose. It's worth the pre-draft obsession in August. It's worth blowing off a Sunday brunch in October with the girlfriend or wife's non-fantasy-playing friends. And come December, it's most certainly worth the thrill of advancing through a playoff bracket in six leagues -- even if you're still lamenting the "one that got away."

The Money Guys

The way I see it, there's nothing to say in this space that hasn't already been said, ad nauseum. So here it is, one last time, the playmakers who WILL dominate in Week 15:
QBs: Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Tyler Thigpen, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb
RBs: LaDainian Tomlinson, Brandon Jacobs (or Derrick Ward), Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant, Chris Johnson, Joseph Addai, Marshawn Lynch, Tim Hightower
WRs: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings, Antonio Bryant, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Marques Colston

QB Locks -- 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs, Week 15

1. Kurt Warner vs. Minnesota
2. Tyler Thigpen vs. San Diego
3. Peyton Manning vs. Detroit
4. Jay Cutler vs. Carolina
5. Donovan McNabb vs. Cleveland
6. Seneca Wallace vs. St. Louis
7. Eli Manning vs. Dallas
8. Tony Romo vs. N.Y. Giants

Ladies & Gentlemen ... Start Your Colts!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Colts are in the middle of a two-week dance with fantasy utopia -- beginning with the sad-sack Bengals last week and ending with the historically wretched Lions (0-13) in Week 15. From my vantage point, Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark (and to a lesser extent Marvin Harrison, Anthony Gonzalez, Dom Rhodes) all have a shot at posting season-best numbers against Detroit. In fact, I'm willing to guarantee a healthy Addai will collect 150 total yards AND two touchdowns on Sunday afternoon. Bank on it!

RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs

1. Joseph Addai vs. Detroit (if I'm lying ... I'm dying -- metaphorically speaking, of course)
2. Larry Johnson vs. San Diego
3. Matt Forte vs. New Orleans
4. Adrian Peterson vs. Arizona
5. Michael Turner vs. Tampa Bay
6. Clinton Portis vs. Cincinnati (how's this for a 'genius' pick?)
7. Steven Jackson vs. Seattle
8. Thomas Jones vs. Buffalo
9. Ryan Grant vs. Jacksonville
10. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Green Bay
11. DeAngelo Williams vs. Denver (this is a reputation pick -- nothing more, nothing less)
12. Brian Westbrook vs. Cleveland
13. Darren McFadden vs. New England (I'm a gluten for punishment with these D-Mac picks)

Target Practice

Antonio Bryant: Chris Livingston/Icon SMI

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets). So, while the fantasy world applauds Tampa Bay wideout Antonio Bryant for his 9-catch, 200-yard, 2-TD effort against Carolina last week, I am STUNNED that only 10 passes came his way. 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, presents a list of the 22 pass-catchers (including two tight ends) who are averaging at least 8.5 Targets since Week 11:

1. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns (13.3 Targets)
2. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (13.0 Targets)
3. TE Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (11.5 Targets)
4. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos (11.3 Targets)
5. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals (11.3 Targets)
6. WR Wes Welker, Patriots (11.0 Targets)
7. WR Roddy White, Falcons (11.0 Targets)
8. WR Randy Moss, Patriots (11.0 Targets)
9. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (10.5 Targets)
10. WR Greg Jennings, Packers (10.5 Targets)
11. WR Terrell Owens, Cowboys (10.3 Targets)
12. WR Steve Smith, Panthers (10.0 Targets)
13. WR Andre Johnson, Texans (9,5 Targets)
14. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (9.5 Targets)
15. TE Dustin Keller, Jets (9.5 Targets)
16. WR Santana Moss, Redskins (9.5 Targets)
17. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (9.3 Targets)
18. WR Davone Bess, Dolphins (8.8 Targets)
19. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers (8.5 Targets)
20. WR Isaac Bruce, 49ers (8.5 Targets)
21. WR Torry Holt, Rams (8.5 Targets)
22. WR Kevin Curtis, Eagles (8.5 Targets)

Speaking Of Targets ...

Here's a stat that will knock your Aunt Connie's socks off: Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards has been targeted 16 times in three of the last four games. Of course, he only caught 18 of the 53 balls (about 33 percent) for 263 yards and zero touchdowns -- but that's immaterial for this discussion. No matter the Cleveland QB -- Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey -- Edwards has received a sick number of targets, despite being a mere shadow of his all-pro self from 2007. That kind of attention portends a major bounce-back campaign in 2009.

Survivor Game

There's nothing like a second chance in life, and the same thinking applies to fantasy football, as well. presents the ultimate fantasy game for owners whose dreams of a fantasy title went unfulfilled in the regular season, or the greedy owners who simply covet two championships in the same year: Facebook's Postseason Fantasy Football.

This test of fantasy survival is like no other game you've ever played, but it'll call on your keen abilities to predict the future -- one NFL week at a time. Are you game? Are you savvy enough to bring your fantasy expertise to a whole new level? This is a golden opportunity to win a slew of fantastic prizes, along with getting one last shot at redemption after taking Tom Brady in Round 1 of your fantasy-league draft.

Kicker Locks For 3 Field Goals

1. Rob Bironas vs. Houston
2. Kris Brown vs. Tennessee
3. Matt Bryant vs. Atlanta
4. Mason Crosby vs. Jacksonville
5. Nick Folk vs. N.Y. Giants
6. Josh Brown vs. Seattle
7. Neil Rackers vs. Minnesota
8. Jay Feely vs. Buffalo
9. Stephen Gostkowski vs. Oakland

A Word About Infomercials

Pick a cable channel -- any channel -- and you'll be inundated with infomercial after infomercial between the graveyard-shift hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. All this had me thinking: If informercials were like fantasyland, who would be the top-5 hosts in next year's drafts? Here's the list:

1. Joe Fowler: The Peterson or Westbrook of infomerical hosts. When he's on his game -- like getting way too excited about a honeybaked ham or pineapple juice -- there is simply no one better.
2. Leeza Gibbons: This former Entertainment Tonight icon always gets the plum assignment -- whether it's for a new age-defying beauty cream or revoultionary shampoo that cleans your hair and doubles as a high-protein, low-calorie salad dressing.
3. Erica Shaffer: This highly versatile hostess has also played the doting wife/dedicated mother in about a thousand commercials. She also has an extensive film/TV resume.
4. Jennifer Slimko: Not only is she the queen hostess of exercise videos -- the one for Beachbody seemingly runs on a loop every night -- but she's also a proud alum of Grosse Ile (Mich.) High School, like yours truly.
5. Julie Moran: Another ET alum ... she is contractually obligated to host every beauty products-related infomercial that Leeza Gibbons passes over -- or so it seems.

If I Were A Bidding Man ...

Here are seven free agents I'd spend all of my remaining monies for blind-bidding leagues when handling waiver-wire pickups ($100 salary cap):
1. QB Matt Schaub, Texans (threw for 414 yards in 8-degree weather last week ... on a still-balky knee)
2. WR Marvin Harrison, Colts (looks quite strong as the season comes to an end -- should be good in the REAL playoffs)
3. TE Donald Lee, Packers (dare I say it: he's Green Bay's No. 1 receiving option in the red zone)
4. PK Phil Dawson, Browns (the direct beneficiary of the Browns' red-zone-challenged offense)
5. RB Tashard Choice, Cowboys (he tallied 166 yards against the Steelers last week -- enough said)
6. QB Seneca Wallace, Seahawks (I'm starting to understand why Matt Hasselbeck may not be back in Seattle next year)
7. WR Davone Bess , Dolphins (he has officially passed Ted Ginn, Jr. on the Dolphins' relevancy chart)

Permission To Talk Fantasy Hoops

Only two more weeks until we dive full-bore into the land of hardwoods and soft perimeter defenders. In the meantime, here are three substantial rotisserie lists for fans of fantasy cross-pollination -- dating back to Nov. 10:

18.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds
LeBron Jamesl, Cavaliers
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Josh Howard, Mavericks
Chris Bosh, Raptors
Kevin Durant, Thunder
Caron Butler, Wizards
Al Harrington, Knicks
Vince Carter, Nets
Danny Granger, Pacers
Zach Randolph, Clippers
Brandon Roy, Blazers
Antawn Jamison, Wizards
Al Jefferson, Timberwolves
Amare Stoudemire, Suns
Dwight Howard, Magic
Carlos Boozer, Jazz
David West, Hornets
Chris Paul, Hornets
Yao Ming, Rockets
Tim Duncan, Spurs
Rashard Lewis, Magic
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
Corey Maggette, Warriors
Paul Pierce, Celtics
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
Richard Jefferson, Bucks
Pau Gasol, Lakers

5.2 assists/1.3 steals per game
Chris Paul, Hornets
Baron Davis, Clippers
Jason Kidd, Mavericks
Rajon Rondo, Celtics
Dwyane Wade, Heat
Raymond Felton, Bobcats
Stephen Jackson, Warriors
Devin Harris, Nets
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Beno Udrih, Kings
Allen Iverson, Pistons
Rafer Alston, Rockets
Jameer Nelson, Magic
Andre Miller, 76ers
Andre Iguodala, 76ers

1.8 3-pointers made/84% Free Throws
Rashard Lewis, Magic
Ray Allen, Celtics
Joe Johnson, Hawks
Al Harrington, Knicks
Peja Stojakovic, Hornets
Roger Mason, Jr., Spurs
Jamal Crawford, Warriors
Quentin Richardson, Knicks
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets
Vladimir Radmonovic , Lakers
Rudy Fernandez, Blazers
Steve Blake, Blazers
D.J. Augustin, Bobcats
Larry Hughes, Bulls

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