November 06, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Yeah, But ...
DeAngelo Williams: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
DeAngelo Williams is the scariest fantasy player on the planet right now -- and not necessarily because of the 469 total yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. You see, I want to believe that D-Will's recent surge will serve as the precursor to another indomitable second-half breakout. I want to believe he'll get 80 percent of the red-zone carries, obviously leaving Jonathan Stewart with 20 or less. And I want to believe that, by season's end, Williams may hurdle Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner as the No. 1 running back in fantasyland. But right here, right now ... there are just too many mixed signals:

1. Williams is averaging 3.57 MORE carries than this time last season ... but those totals were the result of Stewart getting limited reps due to injury in September. And J-Stew, as last week's two-TD effort demonstrated, may finally be ready to take the mantle as the NFL's best No. 2 tailback.

2. Williams is ahead of last year's TD pace ... but can we really expect 16 touchdowns after the midpoint again? Take the Green Bay game from 2008: Williams scored four 1-yard touchdowns at Lambeau Field (an NFL record), with two immediately following looooooong catches from Steve Smith before getting tackled at the 1. Fast forward to Carolina's clash with Arizona from five days ago: After Williams ripped off two long runs inside the Cardinals' 20, he helplessly watched from the sidelines as Stewart needed minimal reps to find the end zone twice. (Williams was getting a well-deserved breather for moving Carolina into scoring territory -- undoubtedly a dose of fantasy karma for vulturing Steve Smith's two scores at Green Bay in '08.)

3. Carolina's fantasy-playoff slate for Weeks 13-16 (Bucs, Patriots, Vikings, Giants) looks eminently doable ... but we'd be morons to assume that weather won't be a mitigating (read: negative) factor for the road tilts during that time (@ New England, @ N.Y. Giants).

4. The Carolina passing game has never been worse ... which likely explains why Williams has posted 69 carries (23 per game) since Week 6. However, it surely won't be long before opposing defenses start putting 8-9 men in the proverbial "box," essentially daring Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore or whichever random Panthers QB is forced to throw all the time. And that's a worst-case scenario for a team that must always be playing from ahead.

Postscript: I am mulling over the possibility of trading DeAngelo in a landmark 6-player deal (PPR league): Williams, Mark Clayton, Kevin Walter FOR LaDainian Tomlinson, DeSean Jackson, Chad Ochocinco -- or maybe Michael Crabtree. Stay tuned for more updates prior to Sunday's games.
Personal Best

Here are 10 players who could post season-highs for fantasy points in Week 9:
1. QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks (expect 260 yards and 4 TDs against Detroit)
2. RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants (mark him down for 100 rushing yards/1 TD vs. the Bolts)
3. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (70 yards/1 TD seems about right against the Jaguars)
4. TE Todd Heap, Ravens (we're shooting for 6 catches/78 yards/1 TD)
5. WR Earl Bennett, Bears (the season-long TD drought ends this week)
6. WR Deion Branch, Seahawks (the fantasy sky's the limit against the Lions)
7. WR Bryant Johnson, Lions (he's a lock for a garbage-time TD -- maybe two)
8. QB Jason Campbell, Redskins (three TDs against the Falcons may be a tad ambitious)
9. WR Kevin Walter, Texans (Owen Daniels' absence opens door for 100-yard effort)
10. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (yes, MJD already has two 3-TD games ... but if there are any 200-yard explosions on the docket -- it'll come against Kansas City at home)

A Large Mound Of Rebound

These prominent players will bounce back from a rough Week 8 this weekend -- we promise:
1. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
2. RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
3. QB David Garrard, Jaguars
4. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos
5. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
6. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
7. RB Ryan Grant, Packers
8. WR Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns
9. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
10. WR Steve Breaston, Cardinals

Food For Thought: Stud QBs

Drew Brees (vs. CAR), Tom Brady (vs. MIA) and Peyton Manning (vs. HOU) all have crucial intra-divison clashes at home this week ... but not every quarterback has a favorable fantasy matchup. Here are Brees/Brady/Manning's numbers against the Panthers, Dolphins and Texans, respectively (complete games only):

Manning (vs. Houston -- 14 games): 276 yards passing, 2.36 TDs, .36 INTs
Brees (vs. Carolina -- 6 games): 279 yards passing, 1.50 TDs, .83 INTs
Brady (vs. Miami -- 13 games): 170 yards passing, 1.84 TDs, .92 INTs (this average includes his 354-yard, 6-TD outing against the Dolphins in '07)

QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs

1. David Garrard vs. Kansas City
2. Aaron Rodgers @ Tampa Bay
3. Peyton Manning vs. Houston
4. Drew Brees vs. Carolina
5. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Detroit
6. Donovan McNabb vs. Dallas

Five Highest-Scoring Games -- Week 9

1. Houston @ Indianapolis
2. Carolina @ New Orleans
3. Dallas @ Philadelphia
4. Detroit @ Seattle
5. Kansas City @ Jacksonville

Top 10 Buy-Low Candidates

1. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (get him now ... before he returns in Week 10)
2. QB David Garrard, Jaguars (somewhere along the way ... DG lost his groove)
3. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks (The Mouth That Roared has been OK, at best)
4. WR Santonio Holmes, Steelers (out of sight, out of mind in fantasyland)
5. RB Correll Buckhalter, Broncos (perhaps the NFL's most underrated backup tailback)
6. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (he'd be higher here, but he's already back at practice)
7. QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs (stay patient -- the easy-cheesy schedule is almost here)
8. RB Fred Jackson, Bills (ALWAYS finishes strong -- he's ideal for the fantasy playoffs)
9. QB Kevin Kolb, Eagles (IF D-McNabb goes down ... he's a lock for 300 yards)
10. RB Shonn Greene, Jets (just eight days ago, Greene was the hottest must-have on the waiver-wire planet; and now, after an 18-yard encore against Miami ... irrational, short-tempered fantasy owners would likely trade him away in a heartbeat)

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

@cjbrown22 says: In a 12-team Points Per Reception league, I'm giving up Kellen Winslow/Devery Henderson for Clinton Portis/Roy Williams. Is this a good trade?

Answer: Old Roy (14 catches, 249 yards, 2 TDs) is receiva non grata in fantasyland right now ... but I'd still love the right to acquire him (then dump him) -- if it meant giving up K2 and Henderson for Portis, who may be the only Redskin worth owning/starting during the fantasy playoffs.

@ddmjr says: I'm starting Wes Welker and need to start two more of the following: Mike Sims-Walker/Vincent Jackson/Donald Driver/Hines Ward. What do you think?

Answer: Here's how I'd rank your guys for Week 9: 1)V-Jax 2)Hines 3)Sims-Walker 4)Driver (who's reportedly battling a neck injury).

@soso_craps wonders: I have Thomas Jones on a bye and I'm wondering which two RBs to start amongst Ahmad Bradshaw, Ryan Moats, Cadillac Williams, Correll Buckhalter?

Answer: Cadillac ran for 158 yards in his one and only game against the Packers (September 2005) ... which should mean absolutely bupkes for the purposes of this discussion. However, in your case, let's ride Caddy and Moats over Bradshaw and Buckhalter this week.

@arl314 asks: Please pick three running backs: Steve Slaton, Clinton Portis, Reggie Bush, LeSean McCoy, Beanie Wells, Jamaal Charles. I'm really uncertain about each player for Week 9.

Answer: To me, there's really not much separation between this 6-pack of non-elite rushers. For Week 9, let's go: 1)Portis 2)McCoy 3)Reggie Bush 4)J-Charles 5)Beanie 6)Slaton (a MAJOR wild card -- could be No. 1 if he reclaims his starting gig).

@amtandrew says: Shoud I trade Austin Collie for Braylon Edwards (non-PPR league)?

Answer: Here's why I LOATHE being offered 1-for-1, same-position trades: Outside of Owner B wanting to secure a QB-WR handcuff, whenever he/she pitches a Braylon-for-Collie trade, they're essentially saying, I'm quite sure my guy will fare better than your guy down the stretch run, but perhaps you're dense enough to not realize that. But if I had to choose among the duo, I'd prefer Braylon over Collie in standard-scoring leagues. For PPRs ... it'd be Collie over Braylon. Thanks!

Target Practice
Reggie Wayne: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets -- an absolutely critical stat for PPR leagues). This underrated category is the best way to safeguard against one-hit wonders during a looooong fantasy season. To wit, presents a list of the 27 wideouts with at least 30 Targets since Week 4:

1. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 50 Targets
2. Steve Smith, Giants -- 48 Targets
3. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 48 Targets
4. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 46 Targets
5. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 44
6. Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns -- 43
7. Roddy White, Falcons -- 40
8. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 39
9. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 38
10. Terrell Owens, Bills -- 37
11. Sidney Rice, Vikings -- 36
12. Vincent Jackson, Chargers -- 35
13. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 34
14. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- 33
15. Nate Burleson, Seahawks -- 33
16. Braylon Edwards, Jets -- 33
17. Lee Evans, Bills -- 33
18. Eddie Royal, Broncos -- 33
19. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 33
20. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals -- 32
21. Marques Colston, Saints -- 32
22. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 32
23. Brandon Marshall, Broncos -- 31
24. Bernard Berrian, Vikings -- 30
25. Keenan Burton, Rams -- 30
26. Austin Collie, Colts -- 30
27. Torry Holt, Jaguars -- 30

WR Locks -- 110 Total Yards and/or 1 TD

1. Mike Sims-Walker vs. Kansas City
2. Donald Driver @ Tampa Bay (assuming he plays)
3. Antonio Bryant vs. Green Bay
4. Reggie Wayne vs. Houston
5. Randy Moss vs. Miami
6. Andre Johnson @ Indianapolis
7. Jeremy Maclin vs. Dallas
8. Michael Crabtree vs. Tennessee
9. Santonio Holmes @ Denver
10. Marques Colston vs. Carolina
11. Chad Ochocinco vs. Baltimore
12. Deion Branch vs. Detroit

In Case Of Emergency

For owners in 16-team fantasy leagues who absolutely, positively need a backup running back this week, one with a serious chance of scoring double-digits through the magic of garbage time ... look no further than Jacksonville's Rashad Jennings (74 yards on 21 touches). Yes, Jennings is only a rookie, but with Kansas City allowing 25.8 points per game and looking brutal on the road, the stars are aligned for Jennings to get this year's 15 Minutes of Fantasy Fame.

RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs

1. Michael Turner vs. Washington
2. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Kansas City
3. Brandon Jacobs vs. San Diego
4. Ryan Grant @ Tampa Bay
5. Frank Gore vs. Tennessee
6. Ronnie Brown @ New England
7. Joseph Addai vs. Houston
8. Matt Forte vs. Arizona
9. DeAngelo Williams @ New Orleans
10. Chris Johnson @ San Francisco
11. Julius Jones vs. Detroit

Target Practice, Part II

One good turn deserves another. Here are the 21 RBs with 12 or more Targets since Week 4:
1. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 31
2. Tim Hightower, Cardinals -- 24
3. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 22
4. Marshawn Lynch, Bills -- 22
5. Steve Slaton, Texans -- 22
6. Joseph Addai, Colts -- 20
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 19
8. Matt Forte, Bears -- 17
9. Reggie Bush, Saints -- 16
10. Correll Buckhalter, Broncos -- 15
11. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 15
12. Kevin Smith, Lions -- 15
13. Chester Taylor, Vikings -- 15
14. Leon Washington, Jets -- 15 (out for season -- broken leg)
15. Glen Coffee, 49ers -- 13
16. Jerome Harrison, Browns -- 13
17. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 13
18. Brian Westbrook, Eagles -- 13
19. Ryan Grant, Packers -- 12
20. Brandon Jacobs, Giants -- 12
21. Larry Johnson, Chiefs -- 12 (he may not see one more pass with K.C. this season)

Target Practice, Part III

Last but not least ... here are the 21 tight ends with at least 20 targets since Week 4. If your preferred guy isn't on the list, perhaps it's time to choose someone who actually sees 4-5 balls per game:

1. Owen Daniels, Texans -- 35 Targets (done for season -- torn ACL)
2. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons -- 35
3. Dallas Clark, Colts -- 34
4. Antonio Gates, Chargers -- 33
5. Dustin Keller, Jets -- 33
6. Vernon Davis, 49ers -- 32
7. Zach Miller, Raiders -- 31
8. Heath Miller, Steelers -- 28
9. Greg Olsen, Bears -- 26
10. Jason Witten, Cowboys -- 25
11. Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers -- 24
12. Brent Celek, Eagles -- 23
13. Chris Cooley, Redskins -- 23
14. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions -- 23
15. John Carlson, Seahawks -- 22
16. Todd Heap, Ravens -- 22
17. Randy McMichael, Rams -- 22
18. Jeremy Shockey, Saints -- 21
19. Kevin Boss, Giants -- 20
20. Donald Lee, Packers -- 20
21. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings -- 20

(Internet) Radio Daze

What can I say? Outside of my lovely bride, family, friends, work and reruns of Family Guy, fantasy football IS my life from July-December. If I'm not re-reading one of the 12 fantasy magazines that engulf my coffee table, or mindfully watching old DVR'd broadcasts of Fantasy Fix (starring John Hansen and Scott Ferrall) ... I can probably be found listening to (or downloading) one of the many fantasy-related podcasts on the Web. In fact, here are my top 5 favorite football-specific podcasts/radio shows (excluding this shameless plug for my own show on Blog Talk Radio, "Your Fantasy, Our Reality," with colleague Jeff Ritter from 4-5 p.m. EST every Monday):

1. -- "Fantasy Football" with Dave Richard and Jamey Eisneberg
2. Sirius Radio -- "Sirius Fantasy Football" with John Hansen and Adam Caplan
3. ESPN -- "Fantasy Focus" with Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz
4. KFAN in Minneapolis -- "Fantasy Football Weekly" with Paul Charchian
5. -- "Fantasy Geekly" with Sean Baligian, Scott Bischoff and Gregg Kanner

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