Fire sale: Playoff difference-makers
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.
You know what gets lost in that
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."