December 07, 2010

Well, we are down to the final two Fire Sales of the year.

This week I've decided to focus on players I believe will help decide the outcome of fantasy playoffs. Playoffs!? Playoffs!? I just hope we win another game. The best sound-bite ever.

You know what gets lost in that classic quote from Jim Mora? People always remember the "Playoffs?" but my favorite part is when he says, "I just hope we win another game." That kills me every time I hear it. Can you imagine Bill Belichick or Jeff Fisher saying they just hope to win another game? That's classic.

By the way, I know you younger fans grew up on sound-bites from the likes of Mora and Denny Green. However, one of the best happened years ago from then Tampa Bay coach John McKay. When asked after a bad loss what he thought of his offense's execution, McKay responded, "I'm all for it." That's one of the quickest comebacks I've ever heard. Unless McKay had that one in the holster for a while, that's one of the best off-the-top-of-your-head replies of all-time.

What was I talking about? Oh, fantasy playoffs. Now that we are down to crunch time, you really don't need me telling you to pick up Brandon Gibson anymore. At this point you either have the horses or you don't. Picking up Bo Scaife isn't going to make or break you this late in the year.

So, these are some of the players I think will either contribute to you winning or losing your league over the next couple of weeks. Thanks for following the Fire Sale everyone. Come join me next week for one final wild ride before I bid farewell to the 2010 season.

Tashard Choice, RB Cowboys -- Remember some crazy, loudmouth Italian screaming for the last two years that Choice is the best overall running back on the Cowboys roster? I don't get it. Every time Choice gets a chance to play he performs well and then disappears for two months. I guess that's what happens when the owner is making football decisions.

I think what happens with Choice over the next couple of weeks will say a lot about whether or not Jason Garrett is just another Jerry Jones "yes" man. After not being able to run the football all season, Choice came in and gave the Dallas ground game a shot in the arm. Like Troy Aikman said during the broadcast, Choice has clearly earned the right to get more carries. Now we'll see if Garrett does the right thing and plays him over Felix Jones, whom the owner drafted in the first round.

I've said since I first saw Choice play that he had something special. He's not the fastest, biggest or quickest guy in the world but Choice gets the job done. I don't know what more the Cowboys coaching staff wants to see from him. Can you tell me why Choice was sitting on the bench watching Marion Barber run into the line with his head down all season? It makes no sense at all.

If the Cowboys do the right the thing, you could be looking at this year's Jerome Harrison. By the way, what happened to last year's Jerome Harrison? Why is he a backup? Are you telling me he couldn't start for the Redskins or Packers right now? I guess having backups like Harrison and Mike Vick is the reason why the Eagles are playoff contenders every year.

Pick up Choice if he's still available in your league. He could help lead you to a fantasy title if Garrett and the Cowboys give him more carries. Then again, with the way they do things in Dallas, we probably won't hear from Choice for the rest of the season.

Sidney Rice, WR Vikings -- Rice finally made the impact fantasy owners have been waiting for all season on Sunday when he caught two touchdown passes. When healthy, Rice is an elite receiver. The only problem is he plays with a quarterback older than my father who would rather keep his annoying streak going than do what's good for the team.

Listen, Tarvaris Jackson may not be a great quarterback but right now with the way Favre is playing I think it's better for Rice owners if Jackson is under center. Favre can barely move anymore. There's no question he's tough as nails. However, it's time for Favre to step aside. This season has been a disaster from the start and there's no reason to keep playing injured just to maintain a streak. If this was any other quarterback, he would have been benched a long time ago.

A lot of people hung onto Rice and it could start paying off. If Jackson takes over at quarterback Rice's big-play ability should once again be on display in Minnesota.

Brent Celek, TE Eagles -- OK, stick with me here. Celek has been close to nonexistent this year. That's the bottom line. However, the way defenses are now playing the Eagles it's helping Celek's fantasy value.

A few weeks ago I noted that I traded for LeSean McCoy and I was worried about his production because Vick is always looking down the field to make a big play. Well, NFL defenses have figured that out, too. Both the Giants and Bears played their safeties deep, forcing Vick to throw shorter routes to McCoy and Celek.

Celek still hasn't had a huge game but in the past two weeks he's caught seven passes for 105 yards and a score. In other words, he's starting to become more involved in the offense. If you are in the playoffs, you are down to a two or three-game season. I like to fill the back end of my roster with guys I can start in a one-game situation. If you are a little light at tight end, I think Celek can be one of those guys.

James Starks, RB Packers -- About a month ago I mentioned to keep an eye on Starks. I live around three hours from where Starks played his college ball at the University of Buffalo and I got to see him quite a bit. Like I said before, when it comes to pure physical ability, Starks is miles ahead of Brandon Jackson.

The Packers are dying for a back to step up and run the ball consistently. Jackson has shown a couple of flashes but it's pretty obvious that he's better suited as a third-down back catching passes out of the backfield. The Packers have tried Jackson, John Kuhn and Dimitri Nance with very little success. On Sunday, Starks finally got his shot and produced a respectable 73 yards on 18 carries. That's the best performance by a Packers rookie running back in 62 years.

I told you a while back that Starks could be one of those players that comes out of nowhere and becomes a fantasy factor during the playoffs. It's still too early to tell what Starks' role will be in the Packers' offense going forward but if Sunday was any indicator, it's going to continue to increase in the weeks to come. I would strongly advise grabbing Starks this week if you can.

Kyle Orton, QB Broncos -- Talk about stealing my thunder. I had this whole thing written about Josh McDaniels entering the Hall of Fame of the worst coaches ever along with guys like Ray Handley, Rich Kotite and Dave Campo. Then the Broncos go and fire him, making my point moot. It was moderately funny too. Oh well.

Now on to Orton. I traded for Orton in midseason because, like many of you, I saw his appetizing playoff schedule. Then a couple of weeks later I dealt him as soon as I could. I saw something going on I didn't like. What I thought might happen to Orton is happening: He's a beaten man.

Orton has been getting killed behind that porous offensive line all year and it's beginning to take its toll on him. I don't mean Orton has been getting sacked, I mean he's been getting hammered. Have you ever seen a defense send a corner or safety blitz against the Broncos? The defender comes in untouched almost every time and absolutely crushes Orton. I give him credit; he's got a lot of guts to keep playing behind that unit.

I don't like what I've seen out of Orton in recent weeks. His passes are coming up short a lot of times and Orton just looks injured to me. He doesn't have the same zip on his passes he had earlier in the year. This Broncos team is a sinking ship. For those of you who thought Orton was going to lead you to a fantasy title, think again. He'll be lucky to still be in one piece by then.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR Cardinals -- Last week I traded for Fitzgerald. I wanted to upgrade my flex position heading into the playoffs, and for the most part, Fitzgerald has been a decent option in PPR leagues, despite his overall dip in production this season. I've made roughly 35 trades and 125 roster moves this season. Trading for Fitzgerald probably wasn't one of my better decisions.

Listen, the Cardinals are down to rookie John Skelton at quarterback. No matter how you want to slice it, that's not good news for Fitzgerald owners. Let's put it this way: I have a first-round bye in my league. When The Bottom Lines take the field in two weeks, there's a good chance Fitzgerald won't even be in my starting lineup. I mean, maybe John Skelton is the next Tom Brady. Then again, maybe I'm the next Bill Simmons. In other words, it's not likely.

The Cardinals are a bad football team starting a fifth-round rookie quarterback from Fordham. If you think that equals fantasy success, you should probably find a new hobby.

Brian Westbrook, RB 49ers -- Well, that didn't work. I guess someone told Westbrook it was 2010 and not 2007. My guess is Anthony Dixon will be a bigger fantasy factor than Westbrook the rest of the way. Some people (including me) wanted to believe Westbrook had one final run left in his old legs. Come to find out, he was just playing the Cardinals.

Redskins -- I have a question for all you people out there: When is the last time a Mike Shanahan-coached team did anything? Since John Elway retired and Terrell Davis got injured, Shanahan hasn't accomplished one darn thing.

Since 1998, how many playoff games has Shanahan won? Take a guess. Try one. That's one playoff win in 12 years. I'm sorry but Josh McDaniels could probably do that too. Well ...

My point is this Redskins team is awful. Shanahan looks lost on the sidelines and I see nothing different from this Washington team than what I saw in Shanahan's final few seasons with the Broncos. Washington has an awful defense and Shanahan is still trying to show he can take running backs off the street and turn them into studs. The bloom is off that rose, Mike. The guy who made all that happen, Alex Gibbs, has retired. Give it up.

I get e-mails all the time asking me what Redskins people should start. Here's my answer: none. I wouldn't start any Redskins right now, not even a hobbled Santana Moss. This team is all done. As my good friend Jim Mora would say, the Skins are "Didley Poo."

I'm 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 You can also follow my comical musings on Twitter or Facebook if you don't have anything else better to do.

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