December 08, 2010

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 saw that last week you said Chris Johnson was still a must start. He stunk again, so are you ready to admit you were wrong and that he should be on fantasy benches now?-- Robert, Southern Florida

I'm more than willing to admit when I make a mistake, and last week I did suggest starting Chris Johnson in the Week 13: Mailbag article. Was I wrong in Week 13? Absolutely. Will I be wrong when I say to start him in Week 14 with confidence? I don't think there is any chance of that. Here's why.

An offense can only struggle for so long, and I would think that going 13 quarters, as the Titans have done, without a touchdown is about long enough.

Second, the Titans face a Colts defense that is 29th against the run allowing 142.8 yards per game. They have also allowed more than 190 rushing yards in two of their last five games, and last week were torched by the Cowboys for 217 rushing yards. One other note. The Colts have also allowed 13 rushing scores in 12 games this season.

Third, it's Chris Johnson we are talking about. You know, the guy who ran for 2,006 yards last season? This year Johnson has been all over the place, giving his owners nausea (six 110-yard games, five games under 60 yards, and one at 66), but he is still sixth in the league with 1,026 rushing yards, third with nine rushing scores, and on pace for roughly 1,370 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. It's time to put aside the insane talk of 2,500 yards, or even a repeat of 2,000 -- neither was every going to happen.

Have you ever heard the phrase that you can only keep a good man down for so long? Well that time is at hand with Johnson. He should run wild against the Colts in Week 14.

I'm looking at my waiver-wire, and I need a boost heading into the playoffs after I lost Dez Bryant to injury and had Brandon Lloyd stink it up last week. If my options are Blair White, Mario Manningham and Anthony Armstrong, who should I pick up?-- Derek, Arizona

First things first. As I discussed yesterday in NFL Player Rater Review, everyone should cut Brandon Lloyd some slack. Here is what I wrote. "What a stinker in Week 13 (two catches, 31 yards). Still, he leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,153) and has six touchdowns in his last five games." Don't panic if you are a Lloyd owner, he will be fine. As for who you should pick up to replace the injured Dez Bryant who underwent surgery to repair a fractured fibula ...

The Colts continue to be decimated by injury, and it appears that Austin Collie (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 14. That makes Blair White an exceedingly interesting option this week. Consider this fact; Peyton Manning has never thrown more than 591 passes in a season, and he is currently on pace to throw the ball 712 times because the Colts simply cannot run the football (blame more injuries there). Oh, by the way, no quarterback in history has ever thrown the ball 700 times in a season (Drew Bledsoe threw the ball 691 times in 1994). White has caught 13 passes for three scores the past three weeks, and that is strong production for a wide receiver three type.

Manningham has a couple of issues. One is that Hakeem Nicks and/or Steve Smith could play this week. Even if Nicks and/or Smith are limited, their presence would obviously distract from Manningham. Second, Manningham has caught only eight passes the past three weeks after his 10-catch explosion in Week 10. Third, you have to ask yourself, would you throw passes to a guy you don't trust? I certainly wouldn't. According to reports out of New York, Manningham is the most frustrating player on the Giants offense. Eli Manning expressed displeasure at Manningham's route running in Week 13, and privately the team worries that mental lapses from Manningham will doom him to being nothing more than a support option in the passing offense. That doesn't sound too promising to me.

Anthony Armstrong will be a hot waiver-wire pickup in all leagues after his six catch, 97-yard, one-score outing against the Giants. A few notes of caution. First, AA has scored only twice all year. Second, he is a home run threat and not a possession receiver. He is averaging an impressive 20.7 yards per catch, which has led to 23 first downs this season on 31 catches. However, those 31 receptions make me reluctant to endorse him fully. Only twice this season, and just once in the past six games, has AA caught more than three passes -- just once. For the year we are looking at a player who averages 2.8 catches, 58.4 yards, and 0.18 touchdowns per game. Devin Hester is averaging 2.67 catches and 0.17 touchdowns per game and is anyone excited about adding him to their roster? Patrick Crayton is averaging 57.1 yards per game this season. Is anyone pushing people over to get him into their starting lineup like folks they do at Best Buy on Black Friday?

Given all of that, the best pickup this week is White. He has gotten into the end zone of late, plays in the most pass happy offense any of us have ever seen, and he gets to catch passes from Peyton Manning. By the way, I don't worry too much about the 11 interceptions that Manning has thrown the last three weeks. After all, he is still on pace to throw for about 5,000 yards and 32 touchdowns, even with virtually everyone on his offense injured, and those numbers will play in any league, at any time.

Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Owners Edge and His work can be found weekly, exclusively at the home of fantasy football: To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at You can also hear Ray's thoughts at the Sirius XM Homepage. (Ray is the co-host of a daily radio show on XM 147 and Sirius 211 satellite radio).

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