November 12, 2009

11/9/09 - Dear Diary,

So Lawrence Taylor got arrested again, this time for leaving the scene of an accident. Luckily, no one was injured, but the real crime is LT's crazy purple outfit and poor acting in those Nutrisystem commercials with Dan Marino.

Here are my starts for the week.

Brett Favre -- If Favre can toss four TDs against a respectable pass defense like the Packers, imagine what he'll do against a Lions' D that's allowed 19 passing TDs. While we're using our imaginations diary, let's envision a world where Favre actually stays retired. Now that is fantasy football.

Joe Flacco -- Flacco has been struggling a bit lately, but a matchup with Cleveland should turn that around. In his last two games against the Browns, Flacco has 590 passing yards and three TDs.

Matt Hasselbeck -- Sure, Hasselbeck struggled against Arizona in their first matchup, but the pass-happy Seahawks threw it 52 times on Sunday. Meanwhile, Arizona gave up 369 passing yards and three TDs last week and currently ranks 29th in the league in pass defense.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams -- Against a Tampa Bay run defense surrendering 163.4 yards per game, Brown is a must-start and Williams a strong flex play. In standard scoring leagues, Williams has at least 9.6 fantasy points in six of eight games.

Thomas Jones -- With 433 rushing yards in his last three games, Jones has exploited some of the league's worst run defenses and should continue that trend against 22nd-ranked Jacksonville this week. Jones also has five TDs in five games, and with Leon Washington injured and Mark Sanchez struggling, the Jets will continue to focus on the run game.

Knowshon Moreno -- On the heels of a five-carry, three-yard performance, why on Earth would I recommend starting him, diary? First off, Kyle Orton is starting to play like ... well, himself. While Washington has a solid pass defense, they got carved up on the ground last week to the tune of 166 yards and two TDs from Michael Turner, so look for a similar game plan from Denver.

Pierre Thomas -- Last week, Thomas received 18 touches compared to five for Mike Bell, and their recent stats suggest that trend should continue. Over the last four games, Thomas has gained 243 rushing yards on 50 carries while Bell has just 180 yards on 49 attempts. In addition, Thomas has eight receptions while Bell has failed to record a catch.

Davone Bess -- Here's one for deep PPR leagues after Bess was targeted 14 times last week. He was a solid option down the stretch last season and had seven catches in a pair of early-season games.

Nate Burleson -- With at least six catches and 74 yards in five of eight games, Burleson is on pace for a career year and has become a strong WR3.

Jerricho Cotchery -- With an extra week to rest his balky hamstring, Cotchery should be primed for a decent game against a Jacksonville secondary that allowed three different Chiefs receivers to gain at least 70 yards last week. Seriously diary, I didn't even know the Chiefs had three receivers.

Percy Harvin/Sidney Rice -- The Lions allow the fifth-most points to opposing wideouts, making both speedsters excellent options.

Derrick Mason -- Mason torched the Browns for 118 yards and a score in their first meeting and is averaging seven receptions and 91 yards in their last five meetings.

Hines Ward -- In his last five games, Ward has averaged 19.1 fantasy points in PPR leagues and 12.9 in standard leagues. Even though the Bengals have been tough against the pass, Ward has at least 82 receiving yards or a TD in four of his last five games against Cincinnati.

Brent Celek -- If you look only at the numbers, it appears the Chargers have been better at covering the TE this year. However, those stats have been aided by games against Miami and Kansas City, whose tight ends are a joke. Celek, meanwhile, has TDs in two straight games and has at least 7.5 fantasy points in all but two games.

Kellen Winslow -- The soldier had a great TD grab on Sunday and looked like a nice security blanket for rookie QB Josh Freeman. This week he faces the Dolphins who have allowed 17 catches and 229 yards to opposing TEs over the past three games.

Until tomorrow, diary...

11/10/09 - Dear Diary,

Wow, nobody has shown interest in Larry Johnson. I don't know why people wouldn't want a guy with a history of off-field issues who is averaging 2.7 yards per carry and has one TD in his last 11 games. Really, mind-boggling stuff.

Here are my sits.

David Garrard -- After tanking against Tennessee a couple weeks ago, I banned him from the column for a week, diary. Outside of a touchdown pass on busted coverage, he didn't do much against the Chiefs last Sunday. He has one TD pass in the last four games, and I expect him to embarrass himself against the Jets.

Kyle Orton -- Through six games, Orton had at least one TD in each game and was averaging 7.6 yards per attempt. In two subsequent losses, Orton's YPA has dropped to 5.0 and he has zero TDs and three picks. This week he faces the top-ranked Washington pass defense, so expect his struggles to continue.

Carson Palmer -- Even in their comeback win over Pittsburgh in Week 3, Palmer threw for 183 yards and one TD. Troy Polamalu was out for that contest and the Steelers have been stingy against the pass since his return.

Matt Ryan -- With Michael Turner running roughshod over the Washington defense, Ryan turned in another subpar fantasy performance. With Carolina on the docket this week, expect another run-focused attack against a defense that has been tough on fantasy quarterbacks.

Ladell Betts -- There was a mad dash to put in waiver claims on Betts when the oft-injured Clinton Portis went down with a concussion. Betts garnered most of the subsequent rushing attempts and converted on a goal-line attempt. However, he's running behind a banged up O-Line and faces a stout Denver run defense if he starts.

Julius Jones -- I hope owners sold high on Jones after last week after he posted 114 total yards and a TD. He's averaging 2.6 yards per carry over the last five contests, including a five-carry, five-yard effort the last time he played against Arizona.

Rashard Mendenhall -- The Bengals have not allowed an opposing runner to break 70 yards since Week 4 and have allowed just two rushing TDs this year. The fantasy RBs who have scored the most against Cincinnati have been versatile guys who catch a lot of passes. Mendenhall has a short week of prep and has eight receptions in five starts.

Kevin Smith -- Despite averaging 16.6 carries over the past five games, Smith hasn't rushed for more than 67 yards. Now he faces a rested Minnesota front that has allowed two rushing TDs all year and is ranked sixth overall again the run.

Austin Collie/Pierre Garcon -- The Patriots have been effective against opposing wide receivers, and this young duo has combined for 24 catches, 265 yards, and one score over the past three games.

Jeremy Maclin -- In the four games since Maclin's two-score, 142-yard outburst, he has 13 catches and 150 yards. With McNabb's inconsistency, Maclin is a risky play against a San Diego defense ranked fifth in receiving yards allowed.

Brandon Marshall -- Diary, the Redskins aren't good at making personnel decisions, hiring coaches, or winning. However, they do defend the pass well and held Roddy White to three catches and 27 yards last week. That doesn't bode well for Marshall heading into their matchup on Sunday.

Santana Moss -- The good news is that Moss finally appears to be displaying some consistency. The bad news is that with two scores and less than 75 receiving yards in seven of eight games, he's been consistently bad.

Mike Sims-Walker -- Two words: Darrelle Revis. Two more words: David Garrard. Last two words: Lady Gaga. Two of these sets represent reasons not to start MSW; the other one makes me want to drive my car off a bridge.

Fred Davis -- Solid game by Davis last week with two catches for 26 yards, and he also had a pass go right off his hands and into the waiting arms of an Atlanta defender for a pick six. Then, Todd Yoder caught a late TD to rub salt in the wound. This week Davis takes on the Broncos who have held opposing tight ends under 20 yards in six of eight games.

Joey Haynos -- It doesn't take much to play better than Anthony Fasano, but Haynos is still this week's "don't be a sucker" tight end after catching a TD in consecutive weeks.

Sleep tight, diary...

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