Fire sale: Sputtering Carolina running game good news for Smith

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When Brett Favre went down against the Patriots and the injury looked serious, it appeared that maybe his great career had come to end. That got me thinking about my own future. Perhaps the Fire Sale has run its course.

Sure, we've had a lot of good times over the years and I've hit on a couple of calls here and there, but how long will I be able to keep saying Marvin Lewis can't coach and Laurence Maroney can't play? At some point, don't I need to move on with my life?

I suppose if a few fans came to my house -- the same way the Vikings went down to visit Favre last summer -- and begged me to come back I would feel obligated to return for at least one more year. But as of right now, I'm flat worn out. It's all going to come down to health. If I feel good in August I'll come back. If not, I'll probably retire and move on.

Now, on with the Fire Sale ...

• Brandon Gibson, WR Rams

I talked about Gibson a couple of weeks ago as someone on the Rams who could help replace Mark Clayton's big plays in the passing game. At first, Danario Alexander took over that role, but now he's injured. Against the Panthers, Gibson stepped up and had a nice game. The Rams are on a bye this week, so there isn't a big rush to get Gibson. Still, I see Sam Bradford continuing to get better, and that means Gibson's production could increase in the future. I've always liked Gibson going back to his days at Washington State. Hopefully, he will finally do something so I can stop saying, I think this Brandon Gibson has a chance to be a player.

Guys like Gibson are hit or miss. Alexander was a miss. LeGarrette Blount was a hit. David Gettis may be a miss. Basically when looking at players like Gibson, you're trying to decide if they're worthy of a roster spot. If you have a deep group of receivers, you don't need Gibson. If you considered starting Brian Hartline last week, you may want to consider grabbing Gibson off the waiver wire.

• Steve Smith, WR Panthers

There was a point when Smith was one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. That's no longer the case because of Carolina's quarterback situation; but in my opinion, Smith is still, pound-for-pound, one of the most talented receivers in the NFL.

The reason I have Smith headed up is because if you play in a PPR league, Smith may not be a 30-point a week guy, but he's still a decent receiver to have in your starting lineup. I traded for Smith a couple of weeks ago when he was hurt, thinking I would have him in a month, but he came back much quicker than I expected. I'm glad I got him because with guys like Austin Collie sidelined, Smith is a nice replacement.

There are a couple of reasons I like Smith going forward. First, Carolina can't run the ball anymore. It doesn't matter if DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart is in there, the Panthers can't get anything going on the ground.

The other reason I like Smith is because I think Carolina is stuck with Matt Moore for the time being. Jimmy Clausen may be under center again really late in the season, but the Carolina coaching staff realized he wasn't ready to start in the NFL yet. I may be wrong but I believe we have another month of Moore at quarterback for the Panthers.

Not all trades have to blockbusters. If you need a dependable third receiver for the next few weeks, I would advise going after Smith. I expect him to be a solid fantasy contributor the rest of the way.

• Keiland Williams, RB Redskins

Why not? Ryan Torain's hamstring injury isn't expected to be serious and he has the bye week to get healthy, but Williams is worth adding if you own Torain just in case. Williams scored last week and he's a good receiver out of the backfield. I just hope he knows the two-minute drill well enough or Mike Shanahan could bench him for a practice squad player.

• Nate Washington, WR Titans

Washington had a big Week 8, catching four passes for 117 yards and a score. Now with Kenny Britt out and Vince Young's status up in the air, Washington is a receiver on the rise.

I actually like Washington more if Kerry Collins is the quarterback in Tennessee. Don't get me wrong, in terms of NFL football, Young is the much better option. However, in terms of fantasy football, a pocket passer like Collins adds some value to a downfield threat at receiver. Either way, Britt's absence will allow Washington to see the ball a lot more.

Don't expect Washington to go crazy every week. I think he's a solid flex option right now but remember that Washington has been terribly inconsistent throughout his career. The way I would use Washington right now is to play him against bad pass defenses and bench him against good ones. I think that's the best way to get the most out of Washington's fantasy value going forward.

• Donald Driver, WR Packers

Did Driver retire and not tell anyone? I know he's dealing with a quad injury ... but no fantasy points for two weeks in a row? If you're that injured, then don't play. That's the bottom line.

Driver will likely miss Week 9 and then Green Bay has a bye, so he should be fully recovered after that. I actually traded for Driver last week and got bit in the butt when he put up a big goose egg. Still, I think as the year goes on Driver will bounce back and be a solid fantasy receiver once he's healthy.

The other reason I put Driver on this list is because a few weeks ago I had Greg Jennings going down and since then he's been on fire. I'm hoping the same thing happens with Driver once he returns to the lineup. On a positive note, at least we know he's unlikely to play this week so we don't have to worry about him. The bad news is Green Bay plays Dallas, so that's a missed opportunity for Driver owners to rack up 30 fantasy points.

• Santonio Holmes, WR Jets

Anyone else notice that as soon as Holmes returned to the Jets their offense got worse? I'm sure it's just a coincidence but it's odd that the addition of Holmes has actually made Mark Sanchez's production go down.

I was expecting big things out of Holmes this year but so far that hasn't been the case. He's not even as good a fantasy options as Jericho Cotchery right now. Perhaps it's going to take a little time for Holmes and Sanchez to get on the same page. Whatever the reason, Holmes is much too talented a receiver not to be more involved in the Jets offense.

You know what I think the problem is in New York? I think it's Sanchez. He runs too hot and cold for me. Sanchez is either really, really good or really, really bad. Look at the two games the Jets have lost against Baltimore and Green Bay. Sanchez was atrocious in both games. I know he's still young and I'm not trying to be too hard on him but until Sanchez becomes a more consistent quarterback, it's going to be hard for Holmes to put up big fantasy weeks.

• Randy Moss, WR Vikings (?)

Are you kidding me? What is going on with this guy? I haven't seen him play hard in one game all year. I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Moss told us years ago that he only plays when he feels like it.

When I was in New England, Moss was a model player. He didn't cause any trouble at all, but like I always say, these guys can only play nice for so long. Players like Moss and Terrell Owens can be tamed for a year or two; but in the end, they march to the beat of their own drummer and ultimately spiral out of control.

As this goes to print, Moss has apparently been released by the Vikings, although there are conflicting reports about whether Brad Childress acted alone on the decision. I actually think Childress is trying to get fired. Did you see the catch by Brandon Tate that he challenged? Was that a joke? That was the worst challenge I've ever seen. I think he wants to be fired at this point.

I'm sure if Moss is released some desperate team will pick him up, but is he worth the headache? Like I said, Moss hasn't played hard in any game this year. Have you seen this guy run routes? I'm pretty sure I could go out there and do what he's doing. It was one thing when Moss played like that in New England but he did the exact same thing when he was traded to Minnesota. Why would we expect it to be different with any other team?

It's a shame Moss' career may be ending this way. In my opinion he's the most physically gifted receiver to ever play the game. If he had half of Jerry Rice's work ethic, Moss would have broken every receiving record in the book. Instead, he's likely to be on his third team this year and it's only Week 9. As Robert De Niro once said, "The worst thing in life is wasted talent." Right now, Moss is wasting his talent.

• Mike Shanahan, Redskins head coach

Rex Grossman knows the two-minute drill better than Donovan McNabb? Is that some kind of joke? Someone call John Elway and Terrell Davis because Shanahan is looking less and less like a genius by the second. By the way, how many playoff appearances and playoff wins has Shanahan recorded since Elway retired? If you don't know, it won't take you long to look it up. His crack about Grossman's two-minute expertise? That may be the funniest thing a coach has said since "Playoffs? Playoffs? You're talking about playoffs? I just hope we win another game."

• Dallas Cowboys

And that's a wrap. Who do you think the Cowboys will select first overall in the draft?

• Josh Freeman, QB Bucs

As I wrote last week, Freeman has been a much better NFL quarterback than I thought he would be early on in his career. I like his matchup against the Falcons. The Bucs are playing well and I think this could end up being a high-scoring game. If you own Kyle Orton, Freeman is a nice replacement for him this week.

• Devin Hester, WR Bears

I'm not a big Hester fan but he has a couple of big games a year in him. I have a hunch one of those big games is going to be this Sunday against Buffalo. If you're looking for a bye-week fill in at receiver that has a shot to put up big number, Hester is your guy.

• James Jones, WR Packers

Jones was one of my sleepers this year. I said he could be big if Jennings or Driver got hurt. Well, it's time for Jones to earn his bacon. With Driver likely out on Sunday Jones gets to feast on the dreadful Cowboys defense. Get Jones in your lineup if you own him.

• Vikings defense

Minnesota has been surprisingly awful this year but now they get the Cardinals at home. That means either Max Hall or Derek Anderson at quarterback. If Minnesota can't record some sacks and turnovers against those stiffs, it might as well pack it in.

I am a very busy man but if you need some one-on-one fantasy help, I will try to fit you in. I have one rule: Don't make your e-mails a book. As a freelance writer, I spend a large part of my day writing and responding to e-mails. So, if you have a question, ask it. If you want to tell me how much you hate me, do it and do it quickly. If possible, try and make me laugh. If you can't tell me that you hate me in a couple of sentences, may a suggest seeking some professional help?

This is a fantasy football column. If you hate me that much, I'm guessing you have some deep-rooted issues that need to be addressed. Anyway, if you must get in touch with me, my e-mail address is