Line of scrimmage: Raiders' WRs, Colts' RBs leave owners guessing

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First, Dave, the only time you make a 180, it's in a car, and you tend to hit things. Second, let's face it, the Broncos had so much money and hype invested in "KnowShow" Moreno that they missed what was in front of their mile-high noses: Peyton Hillis is the real deal. He's reminding me of John Riggins. Third, I've seen you "throw" and "run" (using those terms in the loosest sense, of course) and you're no Colt McCoy. You're not even Dr. McCoy. Cleveland's "Man-Genius" beat New Orleans in Week 7 and New England in Week 9. Once is an upset, twice is a pattern. And looking at their next six opponents -- Jets, Jaguars, Carolina, Miami, Buffalo, Cincinnati -- is there any way they don't pull at least three wins out of that?

Did you just call the Browns a playoff team? Did you just do that? DID YOU?

Ah, well, not exactly, I mean ... My Steelers will win the division, and Baltimore will be on their heels. However with weak divisions in the West and North, Cleveland could sneak in as a wild card. Teams can no longer ask, "What can Brown do for you?" and will have to prepare to stop Hillis, McCoy and company.

Did you call them a playoff team?


Remember, you're under oath.


Just go with the joke for once.


You can't handle the truth!

Topic No. 1: Raiders rookie Jacoby Ford was a one-man pickup truck as he not only returned a kickoff for a TD, but compiled 148 yards receiving, all in the second half. Is he the solution to the Raiders' receiving woes, and possibly my fantasy team?

Block: Ford appeared on radar for the first time in Week 7, and his targets have increased since he's shown an ability most Raiders have not: catching the ball. Since the rise of the speedy, return man/slot receiver, embodied in Wes Welker and Roscoe Parrish, Ford is no longer considered an anomaly. While I'd rather Ford be on a team without a QB controversy brewing, with Louis Murphy and Zach Miller both ailing, and Jason Campbell likely to hold onto the QB spot as long as he keeps winning, the fact that Campbell targeted Ford nine times, mostly when the game was on the line, makes me a believer he'll continue to create value. He's also averaging a hefty 18.5 yards per reception. Put him on your bench and wait for another decent matchup.

Counter-block: Look, I understand your Ford focus. Raise your hand if you started him last weekend and reaped the reward of his 20-point fiesta. Thought so. Now raise your hand if his points in your flex position would have let you escape with a win. OK, hands down (including my own). Realize that Ford's performance was a fusion of Mercury-type speed and circumstance, and betting your team on a one-week wonder is a one-way expedition into a playoff loss. Coach Tom Cable is being coy about whether Bruce Gradkowski has the edge to get his job back when he's healthy (assume he will not and Ford's buddy Campbell keeps the job). With the Raiders on a bye, expect them to get healthier and return Miller and Murphy. But even if it they sit out one more game, the Raiders are playing the Steelers after their bye, which means no one in silver and black will help your team in Week 11. Ford should be left in the garage this season.

Clearing the pile: The Raiders are peaking right now, but how long can they party like it's 1983? Ford probably won't show any value until Week 12. Don't drop a steady contributor for him.

Topic No. 2: With Peyton Manning's receivers dropping like flies, the backfield becomes more relevant. Is Donald Brown the RB I should invest in?

Block: The Colts' backfield is stocked with injuries. Joseph Addai has been out since Week 6 with neck and shoulder issues. Mike Hart looked great against Houston, right up until the time he rolled his ankle. That gave Brown a chance, yet he's nursing a hammy. Presently, Brown is the lead back, and Javarris James is the goal-line guy. In fantasy, that means we want James more than Brown, but there are too many names involved to decide if we really need either. Let's compare stats: Addai (6 G, 4.4 YPC, 3 Rush TD, 6.6 Yds/Rec), Hart (6 G, 4.7 YPC, 1 Rush TD, 6.0 Yds/Rec), Brown (5 G, 3.1 YPC, 1 Rush TD, 12.3 Yds/Rec), James (4 G, 2.3 YPC, 2 Rush TD). Addai was playing well before his injuries, and Hart outperformed Brown on the ground when they played in the same game. So the depth chart likely holds (Addai, Hart, Brown, James) when everyone's healthy, killing Brown's and James' value. But both Addai and Hart appear another week away from returning, so expect the same roles for Brown and James for at least another game. Go get Addai for your playoff weeks if his owner is feeling the pressure to get results today.

Counter-block: Is there an NFL term for the Yiddish phrase "Oy vey?" Indianapolis' rushing offense has managed a meager 3.7 yards per carry this season. While Addai and Hart have both averaged over 4 YPC, Addai's 128-yard performance was just his second 100-yard game in 25 contests. Hart's YPC was bolstered by his 12 carry, 84-yard performance following Addai's injury. Simply put, this isn't a run-first franchise and hasn't been for years. Now add a sub par push up front, and you're mixing limited opportunities with what simply used to be known as the New England Patriots. Brown totaled only 15 carries as the RB1 in Week 9 because the Colts were willing to see what James could do around the goal line. Clearly, the Indy coaching staff doesn't harbor a lot of love for Brown anymore, and although he might be a good RB3, once Addai and/or Hart return, he won't be worth much, not even in PPR leagues, where was supposed to excel (he has seven receptions for the year).

Clearing the pile: Experiment at your own peril. If and when Addai returns, the job is his.

Topic No. 3: Owen Daniels has not made an impact this year, adversely affecting Matt Schaub. However, last Sunday two TEs suddenly became the apples of Schaub's eye. Should you acquire either Joel Dreessen or James Casey?

Block: The Houston TE situation is a lot like the Texans when they need a victory: no-win. Dreessen has seen 22 targets on the season, though 16 of those came in two games. So in four other games Dreessen saw less than two targets and in one he got el zippo. As for Casey, this was the first time he factored in anything, maybe even his own existence. Seriously, up until Sunday he didn't have a name. They settled on it with what was left of the letters in the seamstress' room. Casey had six targets Sunday and caught four of them, so clearly he's got two hands that work. How do you choose between these guys? Ever consider dice? A coin flip? Tarot? Well, if you're that desperate for a fill-in TE for a week, grab Dreessen right now because he's got more experience and is first on the depth chart. I wouldn't want to rely on either, but with Andre Johnson not close to a 100 percent, and Daniels in for a struggle all year long, Dreessen should factor in short-term.

Counter-block: I love Houston for fantasy purposes (the team, not the city), because I really don't care what their win-loss is. But I do care that they find themselves behind a lot and have to put the ball in the air. Arian Foster is arguably the most valuable RB in fantasy this year, but when the Texans are down by 21 in the fourth quarter, Schaub will have to hurl the rock (yes, sometimes to Foster). While it's been an up and down year for TEs in general (you hear me, Brent Celek, or "The Man Who Killed My Team?"), for the Texans, there is enough love to go around. However, I don't see a difference between Dreessen and Casey, and both have also had injuries this year. But Daniels, whose hammy problems are likely a direct result of compensating for his repaired ACL, has had a good amount of time off. Even if he isn't ready for Week 10, he's the best bet of the three in the final month of the season.

Clearing the pile: Dreessen is the guy to get on this team, but don't expect Daniels-like man-love week in and week out.

Jon Phillips is the 2008 Champion of the Columbus Dispatch National Fantasy Football Contest "Rate the Experts" and has written for Talented Mr. Roto, and He also hosted Rotoexperts flagship radio show "Xperts Edge" as well as "The Think Tank" with Scott Engel. Dave Young has written weekly fantasy sports columns for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, and other sites he can't remember. Called the "Laverne and Shirley of Fantasy Football," catch them both on "Just A Bit Outside" on, Sundays, noon Eastern (9 am PST), and read their column, "Line of Scrimmage" weekly on E-mail Jon at or Dave at for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."