November 25, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
A Quick Message From 'Captain Obvious'
Drew Brees: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When it's all said and done, Browns-Lions from Week 11 may end up being the Best Fantasy Game of the Year (even if very few owners got fat and giggly off the NINE combined TDs from Matthew Stafford and Brady Quinn). But, for our money, Patriots-Saints is easily the most anticipated fantasy matchup of '09 (it also doesn't hurt that New Orleans is 10-0). And with this classic affair -- where, for once, ESPN cannot possibly overhype this Monday Night Football showdown -- we have a fairly simple message for fantasy owners everywhere: START ALL YOUR PATRIOTS AND SAINTS!

Moving on ...

QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs

1. Aaron Rodgers @ Detroit
2. Peyton Manning @ Houston
3. Tom Brady @ New Orleans
4. Drew Brees vs. New Orleans
5. Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay
6. Jay Cutler @ Minnesota
7. Carson Palmer vs. Cleveland
8. Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City

Decade Of Decadence: Wide Receivers

In terms of fantasy football, we couldn't have asked for a better 10-year run with wide receivers -- from Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss to Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, perhaps now would be the perfect time to put the decade in better perspective ... while listing the Best Single Seasons of Fantasy WRs from 2000-2009:

1. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 98 catches, 1,493 receiving yards, 23 TDs (2007)
2. Marvin Harrison, Colts -- 143 catches, 1,772 receiving yads, 11 TDs (2002)
3. Randy Moss, Vikings -- 111 catches, 1,632 receiving yards, 16 TDs (2003)
4. Marvin Harrison, Colts -- 109 catches, 1,524 receiving yads, 15 TDs (2001)
5. Steve Smith, Panthers -- 103 catches, 1,563 receiving yards, 12 TDs (2007)
6. Marvin Harrison, Colts -- 102 catches, 1,413 receiving yads, 14 TDs (2000)
7. Terrell Owens, 49ers -- 93 catches, 1,412 receiving yards, 16 TDs (2001)
8. Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers -- 93 catches, 1,405 receiving yads, 16 TDs (2004)
9. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 104 catches, 1,510 receiving yards, 10 TDs (2007)
10. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 103 catches, 1,450 receiving yads, 10 TDs (2005)
11. Randy Moss, Vikings -- 77 catches, 1,437 receiving yards, 15 TDs (2000)
12. Braylon Edwards, Browns -- 80 catches, 1,289 receiving yads, 16 TDs (2007)

Five Highest-Scoring Games -- Week 12

1. New England @ New Orleans
2. Indianapolis @ Houston
3. Green Bay @ Detroit
4. Chicago @ Minnesota
5. Kansas City @ San Diego

It's Leftovers Wednesday!

Here are the 20 best available free agents for 12-team, standard-scoring leagues:
1. QB Matthew Stafford, Lions (an interesting stashee for Weeks 14-16)
2. RB Rock Cartwright, Redskins (a parting of the RB seas for Rock owners)
3. WR Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns
4. WR Chris Chambers, Chiefs
5. QB David Garrard, Jaguars
6. WR Pierre Garcon, Colts
7. RB Fred Jackson, Bills
8. QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs
9. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
10. D/ST Atlanta Falcons
11. RB Chris Jennings, Browns
12. QB Chad Henne, Dolphins
13. WR Robert Meachem, Saints (he's WIDE open at least 3-4 times -- every game)
14. QB Vince Young, Titans
15. WR Davone Bess, Dolphins
16. RB Brandon Jackson, Packers
17. TE Kevin Boss, Giants
18. WR Justin Gage, Titans (don't give up the ship just yet ... he will heal)
19. PK Billy Cundiff, Ravens
20. WR Kenny Britt, Titans

Target Practice

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 24 wideouts with at least 35 Targets since Week 7:

1. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 60 Targets
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 58 Targets
3. Devin Hester, Bears -- 52 Targets
4. Roddy White, Falcons -- 52 Targets
5. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 48
6. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 46
7. Steve Smith, Panthers -- 45
8. Pierre Garcon, Colts -- 43
9. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 43
10. Brandon Marshall, Broncos -- 42
11. Steve Smith, Giants -- 41
12. DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- 40
13. Davone Bess, Dolphins -- 38
14. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 38
15. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 38
16. Derrick Mason, Ravens -- 38
17. Santonio Holmes, Steelers -- 37
18. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles -- 37
19. Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 36
20. Vincent Jackson, Chargers -- 36
21. Terrell Owens, Bills -- 36
22. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 36
23. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 35
24. Donald Driver, Packers -- 35

Searching For Rock Cartwright 2.0

You can never have enough quality running backs in fantasyland, which is precisely why Washington's Rock Cartwright (140 total yards in Week 11) will likely fetch top dollar in auction and blind-bidding leagues this week. But not everyone has the resources to add Cartwright, whether it's because: 1) Their seasonal record is too good, or 2) They've exhausted their amount of free-agent blind-bidding bucks in previous weeks. However, there's a simple solution to this problem (at least in the future): Simply identify which unheralded tailback is on the brink of becoming The Next Big Thing due to unforseeen circumstances (like injuries to Clinton Portis/Ladell Betts). Or, just cherry-pick off my Top 10 Running Backs You'll Be Selling Your Fantasy Soul To Get In 1-3 Weeks, Unless You Act Now:

1. Rock Cartwright, Redskins
2. Chris Jennings, Browns
3. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
4. Brandon Jackson, Packers
5. Jerious Norwood, Falcons
6. Aaron Brown, Lions
7. Kenneth Darby, Rams
8. DeShawn Wynn, Packers
9. Mike Goodson, Panthers
10. Le'Ron McClain, Ravens

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

1. Joseph Addai @ Houston
2. Cedric Benson vs. Cleveland
3. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Kansas City
4. Frank Gore vs. Jacksonville
5. Jamaal Charles @ San Diego
6. Adrian Peterson vs. Chicago
7. Jason Snelling vs. Tampa Bay
8. Chris Johnson vs. Arizona
9. Pierre Thomas vs. New England
10. Darren McFadden @ Dallas
11. Ryan Grant @ Detroit
12. Laurence Maroney @ New Orleans

America's Top 10

It's foolish to guarantee 100 yards and/or one touchdown with tight ends -- since their stats, stars included, tend to fluctuate wildly from week to week. Instead, here's our top 10 most productive tight ends for Week 12:

1. Antonio Gates vs. Kansas City
2. Dustin Keller vs. Carolina
3. Dallas Clark @ Houston
4. Vernon Davis vs. Jacksonville
5. Kellen Winslow, Jr. @ Atlanta
6. Jermichael Finley @ Detroit
7. Brent Celek vs. Washington
8. Tony Gonzalez vs. Tampa Bay
9. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Chicago
10. Heath Miller @ Baltimore

I Tweet, Therefore I Am
Larry Fitzgerald: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

@SportsFanEli says: I've been offered Larry Fitzgerald for DeSean Jackson/Johnny Knox. Do I pull the trigger? It's basically Larry or DeSean for rest of season.

Answer: Eli, even if I coveted DeSean over Larry for the remaining weeks (which I don't) ... there's no way I would let Owner B get away with fleecing Fitzy from me for Johnny Freakin' Knox. If he wants Fitzgerald, he's going to have to pay through the nose to make it happen. In fact, in lieu of that insulting offer, I would tell the guy/girl that "the price just went up!" Seriously, if he wants Fitz, it's going to take a top-flight RB AND D-Jax to make it happen.

@EAGLEinBAMA declares: I want to pick up a wide receiver to back up my starters. Playoffs are Weeks 15, 16, & 17. Who is the better option, Steve Breaston or Mohammed Massaquoi

Answer: I realize that Massaquoi is coming off a 5-catch, 115-yard, 1-TD outing on the very same day that Breaston failed to catch one ball against the sad-sack Rams. That aside, I have always viewed Breaston as a top-30 WR in standard leagues -- top-20 in Points Per Reception leagues; and I just don't feel the same about Double-M at this point ... especially since Cleveland doesn't play Detroit for another four years. And, as luck would have it, Arizona has the greatest fantasy-playoff sked of any team in the league. Hence, I'm riding Breaston (although Massaquoi makes for a great consolation prize).

@alpod22 wonders: Who's the best play for week 12? Santonio Holmes, Chris Chambers or Jerricho Cotchery?

Answer: Unless I have three top-15 studs in my starting lineup -- like one league, where Roddy White, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson are automatic starters -- I would be crazy to sit Chambers against his old team, the Chargers, in lovely southern California. Yes, when factoring in the venom toward his former team -- coupled with Dwayne Bowe's drug suspension -- I couldn't live with myself, if I had benched him for Holmes or Cotchery. As for the No. 2 wideout, let's go Cotchery in Week 12.

@B4him13 says: Clinton Portis is available. Do I drop Laurence Maroney to pick up Portis for the playoff run?

Answer: I'm really not comfortable answering this question. For starters, I'm not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV) ... and I would never trivialize the effect of concussions with football players. If Portis doesn't play another down for the rest of the season -- in a move that may add 10-15 years of his life on the back end -- then I'm completely OK with that. My soapbox comments aside, why would you even want to dump Maroney right now -- especially coming off a two-TD game against the Jets? Even if your trade deadline has come and gone, there is no justification for dumping Maroney ... for a guy who may have trouble walking 100 feet on a really bright day.

@MJShupe78 wants to know: Who would go with as a waiver D/ST this week -- Miami, Seattle or the N.Y. Jets?

Answer: Shoopie, since you're new here, I'm going to cut you a little break (how's that for a Biff Tannen impression?) ... by saying 1)Jets 2)Seahawks 3)Dolphins for Week 12. But please, oh please, spare me the defensive questions in the future. In fantasyland, unless we're talking about the Steelers or the 2000 Ravens, defenses and kick returners are completely random from week to week. Just like none of us can predict when/where lightning will strike at a given moment (HA -- that's two Back To The Future references in the same paragraph) ... I am really bad at predicting when Jets LB David Harris will force a fumble off a sack ... and then take the loose ball to the house for a touchdown.

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

1. Andre Johnson vs. Indianapolis
2. Randy Moss @ New Orleans
3. Sidney Rice vs. Chicago
4. Wes Welker @ New Orleans
5. Vincent Jackson vs. Kansas City
6. Anquan Boldin @ Tennessee
7. Chris Chambers @ San Diego
8. Marques Colston vs. New England
9. Derrick Mason vs. Pittsburgh
10. Brandon Marshall vs. N.Y. Giants
11. Mario Manningham @ Denver
12. Chad Ochocinco vs. Cleveland
13. Greg Jennings @ Detroit

Target Practice, Part II

One good turn deserves another. Here are the 24 RBs with 12 or more Targets since Week 7:
1. Matt Forte, Bears -- 31
2. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 28
3. Justin Forsett, Seahawks -- 27
4. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 26
5. Tim Hightower, Cardinals -- 25
6. Kevin Faulk, Patriots -- 23
7. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 22
8. Reggie Bush, Saints -- 20
9. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 19
10. Steve Slaton, Texans -- 19
11. Kevin Smith, Lions -- 19
12. Joseph Addai, Colts -- 17
13. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- 17
14. Chris Johnson, Titans -- 17
15. Pierre Thomas, Saints -- 16
16. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 15
17. Darren Sproles, Chargers -- 15
18. Ricky Williams, Dolphins -- 15
19. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 14
20. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers -- 14
21. Correll Buckhalter, Broncos -- 12
22. Brandon Jackson, Packers -- 12
23. Brandon Jacobs, Giants -- 12
24. Marshawn Lynch, Bills -- 12

Veto System 1, Honor System 0

As a longtime proponent of the honor system in fantasy leagues (where commissioners, in the spirit of Jeffersonian politics, believe in empowering the fantasy masses to make solid personnel decisions), I recently had an epiphany about the necessity for the trade-veto system -- solely based on this ridiculous deal from one of my 10 leagues (which was rejected 6-0):

Peyton Manning for kicker Neil Rackers

To be fair, Owner A already has Philip Rivers as his starting QB and Eli Manning as a backup ... and is dire need of help at RB, WR and yes, even at kicker. But if he had done his homework, he might've realized that Peyton (3,171 passing yards, 21 TDs, 9 INTs) holds a little more trade value than Mr. Rackers (11-12 FGs; 31-31 PATs). At the very least, it'll take Rackers, Bucs WR Maurice Stovall, Raiders FB Luke Lawton and the Titans D/ST to get something done.

The Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection

In case you're scoring at home, here's my perfect lineup for Week 12:
QB Drew Brees
RB Adrian Peterson
RB Joseph Addai (140 yards and/or 2 TDs seems quite doable)
WR Marques Colston
WR Randy Moss
RB/WR Andre Johnson
TE Antonio Gates
PK Mason Crosby
D/ST Cincinnati Bengals (simply follow the strench-trail that is the Lions, Rams, Bucs or -- in this case -- Browns)

'The League' -- Episode IV

Here are some quick-hitting thoughts about the ONLY scripted comedy on TV that's 100-percent dedicated to the sport of fantasy football:

**I don't think our hero, Pete, used the absolute-best angle when filming that home movie with his now-estranged wife. (How's that for a PG-13 explanation?)

**On the flip side ... Pete made up for the poor cinematography by trying to get with the blonde working at the hotel (or, as we refer to her at the office, The Future Mrs. Jeff Ritter!)

**What does it say about local policemen/women in America ... when they can't catch a stoned Mr. McGibblets (aka, Taco) on foot -- while they're driving a squad car?

**I hate to admit it ... but Terry Bradshaw (Episode 3) did a better job than Chargers TE Antonio Gates (Episode 4). But in Gates' defense, he had a lot less screen time. If the producers really wanted to put his athletic talents to use, they would've had him slam-dunk Ruxin into one of those poolside basketball nets at the spa. Lest not forget, Gates was a great power forward at Kent State, circa, 2002, before hitting it big in his "hobby" sport (football).

**I really missed the lovely and talented Jenny (Kevin's wife). Her inconspicuous absence was as galling as "The Pen" episode of Seinfeld from 1991, when Jerry and Elaine visit Morty and Helen at Del Boca Vista, Phase II in Florida ... and Jerry gets in a fight with Jack Klompus over the astronaut pen. (Elanie: "Hey look, it writes upside down!") YES, it was a great episode, certainly one for the books -- but also one that could've easily squeezed George and Kramer into the plot. If anything, they could've had cameos as "other people" -- just like the time Curly Howard showed up in the 1947 Three Stooges flick, Hold That Lion!, as a routine train passenger ... while Larry/Moe/Shemp got top billing.

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