Seyi Ajirotutu, WR ChargersI'm going to be honest with you, I can't pronounce this guy's name and I never will. From here on in I will refer to him simply as "Tutu."
Before the season Philip Rivers was my top-rated fantasy player heading into the draft. I thought he would be throwing the ball all over the place this year and obviously I was right. However, if you told me Vincent Jackson wasn't going to sign, Malcom Floyd would hurt his hamstring, Buster Davis would go on IR, Antonio Gates would injure his foot and Patrick Crayton was going to be the team's No. 1 receiver for a month, I probably would have changed my rankings.
Tutu is the newest Chargers player to come out of nowhere and have fantasy relevance thanks to playing in Norv Turner's offense and having Rivers throwing him the ball. Because of the unbelievable amount of injuries to San Diego pass catchers, Tutu got his first start on Sunday and responded with four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for a guy whose name only 1 percent of the population can pronounce.
I remember Tutu at Fresno State. Last year early in the season the Bulldogs played Wisconsin and Tutu had a big game. The announcers were saying how he had a bright future in the NFL. Well, they may have been right but apparently scouts didn't agree because Tutu went undrafted. The Chargers have a bye in Week 10 and they should get most of their weapons back for the next game. Still, Tutu is certainly worth picking up. It's pretty obvious anyone that is on the receiving end of Rivers' passes has fantasy value.
Randy McMichael, TE ChargersHere's a funny story. I have Zach Miller and Owen Daniels as my tight ends. On Sunday morning when it was announced that Gates was out, I picked up McMichael to start. Then at the last second I dropped him in favor of Joel Dreessen.
I play in a PPR league so Dreessen had a decent game for me but you know how the story ends. I had to sit there while the Red Zone Channel kept showing me McMichael making one-handed touchdown grabs.
Remember when McMichael was one of the better tight ends in both the NFL and fantasy football? That seems like 100 years ago. Gates could be back in two weeks but some reports have his foot injury as being pretty serious.
If you own Gates or need a tight end, I advise grabbing McMichael. My Cousin Sal could score 20 fantasy points a week playing with Rivers.
Jacoby Ford, WR RaidersA lot of times you hear a guy was the fastest player at the NFL Combine and then when you put pads on him he isn't nearly as fast. Ford doesn't have that problem. He's one of the fastest guys I've ever seen not named Darrell Green.
Ford is one of those lottery tickets that's worth taking a shot on if you need help at receiver. Is he going to catch six balls for 148 yards every week? I'm guessing not. Ford isn't Hakeem Nicks. Having said that, with Ford's speed, he could be what the Raiders expected Darrius Heyward-Bey to be.
Ford may have a bigger impact as a kick returner but he's worth a shot if you are looking for a receiver with upside to build up the bottom end of your roster. I know one thing: I would play off Ford if I were a defensive back. He's so fast Ford reminds me of myself when I was younger. If you believe that than you probably think Jerry Jones knows how to build a football team, too.
Blair White, WR ColtsFortunately it looks as if Austin Collie is going to be OK after that scary scene on Sunday. While Collie came back quicker than expected from his thumb surgery, White's fantasy value is still on the rise after this latest incident.
It's hard to imagine Collie being on the field this Sunday, which means White will get a lot of reps in the slot. The Colts are just like the Chargers. The name of the player is irrelevant as long as Peyton Manning is delivering the football. White may not be Collie but he should catch a few passes, making him a decent flex player in PPR leagues.
The Colts have been just decimated by injuries this year but that offense keeps plugging along. Indianapolis plays the Bengals this week, so Manning should once again have plenty of yards through the air, regardless of who lines up at receiver. If White is out on your waiver wire, pick him up and see what happens with Collie over the next couple of weeks.
Jared Cook, TE TitansIf you play in a keeper league, Cook is a guy to keep an eye on. The Titans love him and let's be honest: Bo Scaife isn't setting the world on fire. I'm just throwing Cook's name out there now but I will be all over him heading into 2011. Cook has the physical skills to become a big-time NFL tight end.
Peyton Hillis, RB BrownsI didn't know Jim Brown returned to the NFL. Did you see this beast on Sunday?
Matthew Stafford, QB LionsStafford has a lot of physical ability but he looks like one of those guys. You know the kind of guy I'm talking about. The kind that plays two games then misses seven. He comes back for two games then misses the rest of the season. I have no use for players like that.
It's a shame Stafford can't stay healthy because despite being 2-6 the Lions are building something exciting for the future. This team has drafted well in recent years. Now they have a bunch of young stars on offense such as Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew to go along with an improving defense. Still, none of that is going to matter if Stafford can't stay healthy.
At least there's good news for Johnson owners. Except when Darrelle Revis is eating his lunch, Johnson can put up numbers with me throwing him the football.
Now Stafford has re-injured his shoulder and while he doesn't need surgery, he will miss this week's game at the very least. Luckily, the Lions play Buffalo on Sunday, so it really doesn't matter who is under center this week.
This offense is still good even without Stafford, but it's not great.
Steve Smith, WR PanthersIt isn't often in the Fire Sale that a player will be Going Up one week and be Coming Down the very next but that's the unfortunate situation we find Smith in.
I thought last week Smith was a guy that could really help your fantasy team down the stretch as long as Matt Moore was under center. Then on Sunday the bottom fell out for Smith owners. Moore injured his shoulder and Jimmy Clausen was benched for fellow rookie Tony Pike. Now Moore is out for the season. That's game, set and match for Smith owners.
Smith caught only one pass for 9 yards on Sunday and that was with less than 30 seconds left in the game. Things were so bad for Smith that when he finally made a big play it was called back on an awful offensive pass interference call.
Here is the question I have: what was John Fox thinking heading into the season? He had Moore backed up by two rookies. Does that sound like a recipe for success? I can see if you have a rookie backing up Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Drew Brees. Heck, if they go down the season is pretty much over anyway. But Matt Moore? Don't you think it would make much more sense to have some kind of veteran on the roster for insurance?
These are questions Fox can ponder this offseason after he's fired. I traded for Smith a couple of weeks ago thinking I had added depth to my receiver position. Now I'm considering dropping him for Brandon Gibson.
LeSean McCoy, RB EaglesI traded for McCoy last week but I'm a little concerned that may have been a mistake. McCoy will always be a strong fantasy running back. I'm afraid though that his value goes down quite a bit when Mike Vick is the quarterback.
Kevin Kolb is Mr. Checkdown so McCoy benefited by catching a ton of passes. Vick, on the other hand, is Mr. Big Play. He looks down the field and if nothing is open Vick takes off and runs.
Again, I'm not saying you should go out and get rid of McCoy. What I am saying is I saw him break free a couple of times on Sunday where Kolb would have delivered him the ball but Vick decided to run out of the pocket instead. Plus, with Vick in there he's more likely to quarterback sneak near the goal line, like we saw on Sunday. Those missed opportunities can be the difference between winning and losing a fantasy match-up some weeks.
Donald Brown, RB ColtsHow many people started Brown last week and sat there fuming while Javarris James scored those two short touchdowns? You know what's ironic about that? Sometimes when Joseph Addai is in there Brown gets inserted to vulture short touchdowns. Does Jim Caldwell just hate fantasy football?
I'm sure a lot of you remember last year that I loved Brown coming out of UConn. I thought two years ago Brown was the best back in the country. However, I'm just not seeing the same player in the NFL. I don't see much vision, explosion or gamebreaking ability out of Brown right now. In my opinion the most impressive Colts running back I've seen this year has been Mike Hart.
Depending on the health of Addai and Hart, Brown could earn another start this week. I never frown on playing a Colt as a flex option but I wouldn't expect a lot from Brown. He's an average fantasy player at best, even in the Colts offense.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR ColtsIs this guy made of paper mache? Well, at least he had one decent game if you started him against Houston. One and done. See you next year, Gonzalez. Just don't be surprised if it's with another team.
Andy ReidWhy was Andy Reid in a Punt, Pass and Kick contest when he was 35? Did you see that video? Don't even try and tell me he was 13 because that's not humanly possible. He was so much bigger than all the other kids it looked like a Saturday Night Live skit. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. A 35-year old Andy Reid competing against little kids. That was good stuff.
Drew Stanton, QB LionsWith Stafford and Shaun Hill both likely to be out on Sunday, Stanton could make for a nice play against the Bills. It's a bit of a reach but you don't have to be all that talented to flip the ball to Jahvid Best and throw it up to Calvin Johnson. If you are starving for a quarterback this week, give Stanton a look.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR JaguarsI don't like Sims-Walker but he's playing against the weak Texans pass defense.
Jacoby Jones, WR TexansI don't like Jones but he's playing against the weak Jaguars pass defense.
Brandon Gibson, WR RamsI like this matchup for Gibson. The 49ers haven't been able to stop anyone through the air this year and we know Sam Bradford is going to put it up. I wouldn't be surprised if Gibson finds the end zone this Sunday.
Buccaneers DefenseAs you probably know, I don't mind patting myself on the back. My Sneaky Start defenses have been great this year. In seven of nine weeks, my defenses have scored at least 10 fantasy points. One of the times it didn't was when I suggested these same Bucs against the Steelers. Even though they burned me once before, I can't resist starting Tampa Bay against that offensive mess known as the Carolina Panthers this week. The Bucs should eat that unit alive.
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