I see Michaels everywhere. It's always GTL time according to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. I listen to Mike and Mike sports radio while chewing on Mike and Ike candy. I eat Life cereal, which Mikey really liked, while watching Back to the Future starring Michael J. I still affectionately refer to my cousin as Mikey even though he just turned thirty and stands 6-foot-5.
To honor this great namesake, even though it isn't as cool of a football name as Dez, Knowshon, Roddy or D'Brickashaw, here are the Michaels worth noticing in your fantasy leagues.
What's not to like about Mike Wallace? He shares the same name as a legendary news correspondent, he rocks a Mohawk-style haircut and even more relevant to fantasy football, he's got Ben Roethlisberger throwing to him again.
Earlier this season, Wallace's speed was largely wasted without his strong-armed quarterback. In his first four games, he caught just nine passes for 211 yards, though he did have one standout game in Week 3 against Tampa Bay when he tallied 100 yards and two scores. In Big Ben's return from suspension on Sunday, Wallace immediately had an impact, pulling down a 29-yard strike in the first half. He finished with three catches for 90 yards.
The second-year receiver is a rising commodity in fantasy circles. Going forward, expect Wallace to surpass his '09 numbers of 39 catches for 756 yards and six scores. Treat him like a No. 2 receiver in TD-only leagues but don't value him over his cohort Hines Ward in points-per-reception leagues.
I've touted Tampa Bay's rookie of the same name this season and completely ignored Seattle's version. That was until the Seahawk squawked on Sunday against the Bears with 10 receptions for 123 yards.
Maybe I don't like him because he's a former Trojan (go Bruins!) who Detroit drafted too early in the '05 draft. Maybe I only see a guy whose best year was his rookie campaign when he had just 29 receptions for 350 yards and a score. Maybe I'm not convinced his aging quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can deliver the goods on a consistent basis.
But there are some things to like about this Mike -- his massive 6-foot-5 height, the trade of receiver Deion Branch to the Patriots and the Seahawks soft division filled with weak pass defenses. At this point in the season, he's worth a flier if you need to build depth at receiver or as a bye-week replacement.
Bush had fantasy momentum entering this season in part to a strong '09 campaign (589 yards rushing, 4.8 average) and because his teammate, Darren McFadden, had yet to live up to his promise. But a thumb injury sidelined Bush for the first two games, at which time McFadden finally asserted himself as the Raiders feature back.
Now Run-DMC is injured again with a hamstring injury and Bush is doing everything he can to keep the job. He totaled 135 yards and a TD against the Chargers in Week 5, though he struggled against San Francisco on Sunday with just 59 total yards and no scores.
Oakland's last great season was the '02 Super Bowl run. Since then, it's been unbearable for Raider Nation under Al Davis' watch, and now every Oakland player is reportedly on the trading block. If McFadden gets shipped, perhaps to the Packers, Bush would benefit immediately. For now, get him in your lineup as long as he's the healthy starter.
Crabtree had a productive '09 rookie year considering he missed most of the season due to a contract dispute. Once he got on the field, he had 48 receptions for 625 yards and two scores in 11 games. The first-round pick was supposed to take off this year, yet like the rest of the 49ers, he stumbled out of the gate. In his first three games, which were all losses, Crabtree recorded no more than three catches for 37 yards in a game and never found the end zone.
However, there are plenty of reasons not to give up on this Michael. Since offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was fired after Week 3, the offense has looked more potent under new OC Michael Johnson (naturally). Crabtree had a modest game against Atlanta before breaking out against Philadelphia the following week with nine receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. He scored again on Sunday against Oakland, finishing with four catches for 57 yards in the 49ers first win of the season.
Like Williams, Crabtree will see plenty of weak pass defenses in his future -- Tampa Bay, Arizona (twice) and Seattle. Now is the time to get him before he breaks out.
Let's start by being pessimistic: Turner has only one score in six games this year, averaging just 77.7 yards per game and a career-low 4.3 yards per carry. His last game was his worst performance of the year -- 45 rushing yards on 15 attempts. He'll never be the workhorse that he was in '08 when he rushed 376 times for 1,699 yards and 17 TDs.
Now, let's be positive. Turner has a pair of big rushing games this year: 30 carries for 114 yards and a score in Week 3 against New Orleans and 19 carries for 140 yards in Week 5 at Cleveland. He hasn't been a complete liability as a receiver out of the backfield, having already surpassed his '09 totals with seven catches for 50 yards.
Also, his poor output on Sunday was partially due to the Falcons falling behind 21-0 in the second quarter.
You're probably kicking yourself if you invested a high draft pick on Turner since he is playing more like a No. 2 fantasy back rather than an elite one. Still, in this age of timeshares, be thankful he isn't in one. Expect his TDs totals to improve soon.
Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas (Jacksonville) -- Previously, Sims-Walker was the only Jaguars receiver to own, but Thomas has been more productive this season. Neither has much upside since they play in a run-heavy offense but I would still favor Sims-Walker given his track record.
Michael Vick (Philadelphia) -- The biggest fantasy surprise of the season is now nursing a rib injury while his competition Kevin Kolb just threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Hang on to Vick if you believe in second, third and fourth chances.
Jermichael Finley (Green Bay) -- A top three tight end when healthy, Finley is out 8-10 weeks while recovering from knee surgery. Feel free to cut ties with him and try your luck with a rookie tight-end like the Patriots' Aaron Hernandez or the Chiefs' Tony Moeaki.
Michael Williams (Tampa Bay) -- Williams had a quiet day against the Saints on Sunday (four receptions, 45 yards), though he was questionable for the game due to an ankle injury. QB Josh Freeman targeted him nine times, which is a good sign. Williams will look to bounce back against the Rams in Week 7.