December 06, 2011

There are no two ways about it, there's going to be a lot of grumpy people this week. Some are going to be grumpy because of the upcoming holidays and related stress, while others are going to be grumpy because, well, it's getting cold, and brushing snow and ice off your car is a grind. The grumpiest people of all, however, are those on the outside looking in, those of us who failed to make the playoffs this year and thus have to sit around and watch our friends battle it out, like the fantasy version of Duke football.

With that said, our goal remains the same: to expose undervalued resources, to explore the reasoning behind why so many people like Shonn Greene, to boldly go where no man has gone before!

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders (62 percent owned)

Since his first start this year, Palmer has scored 10-plus points in every single game. Not bad for someone whose last physical activity before his comeback was most likely running after the ice cream man. Over the last four weeks, he is the ninth ranked fantasy QB in the NFL. Oakland is in a tough playoff race and they'll need Palmer to find Darrius Heyward-Bey and the merry bunch of third-string receivers early and often to stay ahead of the Tim Tebow train. Trust in him, but keep Kimo Von Oelhoffen far, far away. By that way, if you had said to me that the Bengals would dump Palmer, go with Andy Dalton and the Raiders would pick Palmer up, and the end result would be both teams deep in the playoff hunt, how skeptical do you think I would have been? I'd have believed that B.J. Raji could break the high jump world record before I believe that scenario would unfold.

Damian Williams, WR, Titans (25 percent owned)

Much like Oakland, Tennessee is in a close playoff race, hoping to pick off a wild-card spot in the four-way car wreck that is the AFC playoff picture. Williams has long been a solid No. 2 for Tennessee behind Nate Washington, and has put up 9 fantasy points per game over his last four contests. He's only 15 targets behind Washington and is the most efficient wide receiver for the Titans on a per play basis. He could be a useful flex or WR play in deep leagues going forward.

Marion Barber, RB, Bears (24 percent owned)

We mentioned him previously in this column, and that was before the Matt Forte injury. OK, now that the pats on the back are out of the way, Marion Barber has 5 TDs in an extremely limited role since coming back from injury in Week 4. With the Bears' top two offensive players out, Barber looks to have huge increase in workload moving forward. Not only that, but the Bears love to check down to their RBs -- a Mike Martz specialty -- so you can expect some solid receiving numbers out of the new feature back in weeks to come. Be forewarned: Barber is a hit or miss running back; he ranks 15th in the league in total efficiency added (thanks to his proficiency for scoring) but has a dismal 28 percent success rate.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens (96 percent owned)

Boldin has been a pillar of inconsistency this year, but it's not really his fault. When Flacco locks in on Boldin he's a top fantasy option, but in the majority of the games, Boldin has been sorely disappointing due to Ol' Troglodyte's inability to throw the ball to his best target. He has only four games over 10 points and none over 15. Boldin leads the Ravens in targets at 97 but has a subpar 51.5 percent catch rate. Compare that to his career 61.6 percent catch rate and you've got a receiver in a down year. With so many breakout receivers this year like Victor Cruz and Michael Crabtree, it might be time for Boldin to take a seat on the bench.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets (95 percent owned)

Greene had a huge day on Sunday, but don't get it twisted. LT is back in the lineup, and Greene has only broken 10 points five times his year, a disastrously low number given his draft position. In fact, Greene has had three sub four-point games, which is unacceptable for a starting running back. His hype came mostly from the idea that the Jets pound the ball but Greene only has 183 carries, good enough for 14th among running backs.

Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers (99 percent owned)

Every year we hear so much hype surrounding this kid, thanks to having the top QB in the league and raw athleticism. Unfortunately, like eating at Subway, Finley continues to disappoint. This past week, he caught his sixth TD of the year, but posted just his third game over 10 points. Outside of a 26-point Week 3 performance, which accounts for 28 percent of his total points on the season, Finley has scored under eight points in 75 percent of his starts. He may still be a startable tight end due to the sheer potential of working in the Packers offense, but he is not top tier.

Nik Bonaddio is the CEO of numberFire, a sports analytics platform that provides algorithmic modeling for sports. You can follow him @numberfire. Keith Goldner is the Chief Analyst at numberFire. You can follow him @drivebyfootball. Be sure to visit numberFire on Facebook.

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