Each week I'll attempt to bring some clarity to your questions about the pigskin and the men who throw, catch, run and kick it. To reach me with questions, scroll down to the end of the piece where you can find my e-mail address.
I have Randy Moss, though I wish that I didn't select him this season. What should I do with him now? I was offered Mike Williams of the Bucs for him straight up. Should I accept the offer?-- Kyle, Alexandria, Va.
I don't like Randy Moss, never have, never will. Period. In fact, I can't recall ever drafting him. He always seemed to be overvalued on draft day because I was worried about something like what has transpired happening. Clearly, that was the case this season as he was universally looked at as a top-10 WR option in all formats, with some even placing him placing him in the top-5. As the season hits the midpoint, Moss isn't even a WR3 option at this point. Through eight games he has 22 receptions and 313 yards, and if not for his five touchdowns his season would be abysmal. Even with them, it's pathetic.
Williams, the Bucs' fourth round pick this season, has been a reliable weekly contributor. In each of his last five games he has caught at four or more passes, and in three of his past four outings he has gone for at least 82 yards. Williams also has scored four times in seven games this year, clearly flashing something Moss hasn't -- consistency. With the growing rapport between Williams and Josh Freeman, the second half of the season should be as strong as the first, and that would mean that Williams should have a shot at something like 70 catches, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.
If I had Moss on my squad right now, I would move him for Williams. There is not a person on Earth who can accurately predict where Moss' head is right now, and, consequently, there is no way to know if his production will return to his "normal" level, or if this season will go down as his worst one since his forgettable season of 2006 when he caught 42 passes for 553 yards and three scores in his last year in Oakland. Take the consistency of Williams over the headache that is Moss.
Bye weeks are killing me right now. I have Frank Gore and Knowshon Moreno on a bye this week, so I had to pick up LeGarrette Blount. Should I expect a strong showing from him this week?-- Woody, Washington
Frank Gore has been a fantasy superstar in PPR leagues, you can read about that in NFL Player Rater Review, and Moreno has been a serviceable flex option in deep leagues when he has been able to drag his body onto the field. Alas, Bye weeks hit everyone hard at some point, it's just part of the fantasy game, so it's something all have to deal with.
Blount is about the third guy in the Buccaneers' backfield this season we have had to think about. First it was Cadillac Williams, then it was going to be Kareem Huggins, and now it seems like it's Blount in the lead role. I have to tell you, too, if you watched his outing in Week 8 against the Cardinals, you have to be pretty excited about Blount this week, and moving forward. Blount lowered his head, squared up his shoulder pads, and took on whatever the Cards threw at him with his 6-foot, 245-pound frame on his way to 22 carries for 120 yards. He also displayed a nose for the end zone (two scores) and athleticism, seen when he hurdled a defender on his way to a 48-yard run late in the game. At the same time, Caddy will continue to see third-down work in his developing role as a pass catcher out of the backfield (he has 18 catches the past three weeks after never catching more than 30 passes in a single season), so Blount's value would appear to be capped a bit. Still, Blount figures to be the goal line back for the Bucs, and that is the difference maker in fantasy.
In Week 9 Blount faces a Falcons team that ranks sixth in the league in rushing defense, allowing only 95.9 yards per game. They have only allowed three scores to a running back over the past 10 games. Obviously, this doesn't appear to be a fantastic matchup for Blount, but given bye week issues, and the likely alternatives, Blount is a solid play as he figures to get plenty of work, even in a less than desirable matchup.
I was on cloud nine when Dustin Keller, my late-round breakout candidate, started out quickly. Why has his performance dipped of late, and will he return to his early season level of success?-- Dave, New York
Let's take a look at the overall numbers. Through seven games Keller has 26 receptions for 388 yards and five touchdowns. After two solid years in the 40s with catches and the low 500s in yards, Keller has vaulted to relevance with a pace that would result in 59 catches, 887 yards and 11 touchdowns -- a truly epic season for a tight end. If Keller were to post those numbers, all Keller owners would be doing cartwheels.
However, Keller hasn't scored in three games while only catching seven passes in that time. Here are the facts. (1) Mark Sanchez just isn't that good -- yet. Sorry to bust your bubble Jets' fans. (2) There was no reasonable person in the world who thought Keller, who scored five times in his first 32 games, would somehow reach double-digits this season in scores. (3) Keller is still on pace for career bests, by substantial margins, in the three main fantasy categories. (4) The return to game action of Santonio Holmes has also helped to limit the involvement of Keller in recent weeks.
Will Keller return to his Antonio Gates-like levels from early in the season? Of course not -- there is only one Antonio Gates. Will Keller be a weekly option in standard leagues, say 12 teams? Probably not. At the same time, that doesn't mean that all hope is lost with Keller, it's just time to temper those expectations and realize that he is still on his way to a very solid season.
Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Fanball.com Owners Edge and RotoTimes.com. His work can be found weekly, exclusively at the home of fantasy football: Fanball.com. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear Ray's thoughts at the Fanball.com Sirius XM Homepage (Ray is the co-host of a daily radio show on XM 147 and Sirius 211 satellite radio).