November 18, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jeff Ritter
Too Legit To Quit
Brady Quinn: AP
Quick thought on Cleveland's wild 29-27 Monday night win over the Bills.

  • We're not a Bills' fan, but it's probably tough to stomach any nationally televised loss where your kicker sends one wide right in the final seconds. It was a pretty shocking finish to the game. (Although not quite this shocking.)

  • Brady Quinn earned his first win in his second career start. He wasn't particularly sharp, finishing 14-for-36 for 185 yards, no TDs and no picks. There were flashes of the young QB's potential, but Quinn is a much better option for those who play in keeper leagues (or those who write sports blogs) than for owners who need help this year.

  • Nice drive for the winning field goal by the Browns, who played hard even while likely playing for next year. Hey, who said they were quitters, anyway? Oh yeah, that's right ...

  • At one point in the first quarter, Trent Edwards completed six passes in six attempts . . . but three of those passes landed in the hands of Browns defenders. I'm not sure he's the same quarterback since his Week 5 concussion. Edwards had a terrible game, finishing 16-for-26 for 148 yards and the three picks. There are several QBs I'd rather start right now on my fantasy team, including two guys listed below on the pickup list.

  • Lee Evans' owners can't be happy. He had just six catches for 65 yards in two games prior Monday night, then got completely shut out against the Browns. It just didn't seem like he was part of the game (kind of like this kid in the top left corner). Obviously Evans' value fluctuates with his quarterback, and right down he's in a full-blown recession.

  • After a quarter-and-a-half, I made some notes on how Marshawn Lynch didn't seem right; he just wasn't hitting holes with his usual burst. The Bills brought in Fred Jackson in the second quarter for his usual series or so, and he immediately ripped off a few big runs. Naturally, Lynch rotated back into the game and started absolutely crushing the Browns. He finished with 119 yards on 23 carries, plus another 58 yards and a TD on 10 receptions -- easily his best game of the season. This is why I wait until the game is over before writing these posts.

  • As is we needed more evidence on the value of the change-of-pace running back, that 72-yard touchdown run by the Browns' Jerome Harrison serves as yet another example. Just like that, the Browns led 23-13 in the fourth quarter.

  • The Bills made a ton of big kick returns, including a 98-yarder by Leodis McKelvin that answered Harrison's touchdown dash. The defense has been shaky lately, but the special teams' big-play potential makes the unit a serviceable fantasy starter moving forward.

  • Go Get 'Em
    Here are some guys who may be available in your league and could be worth adding immediately.

    Kerry Collins, QB, Titans. I still don't believe this recent hot streak will last, but Sunday against the Jags (230 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) makes it two straight productive weeks. If you're desperate for help at quarterback, you could do worse.

    Tyler Thigpen, QB, Chiefs. Another solid week. He should at least be universally owned at this point.

    J.J. Arrington, RB, Cardinals. Sunday was his first impact game of the year. Don't expect him to steal two TDs every week, but he got 11 touches against the Seahawks, which could be the start of a trend. Suddenly he's the guy all Tim Hightower owners should grab and stash on the bench as injury insurance.

    Cadillac Williams, RB, Bucs. It's time to roll the Caddy! (Just had to get that one out of our system) With Earnest Graham likely done for the year, the Bucs probably won't look for Warrick Dunn to carry the entire rushing load. Williams should get an immediate share of the carries. But that reminds me ...

    Antonio Pittman, RB, Rams. Whenever Steven Jackson returns to the Rams lineup, Pittman's value disappears faster than that TV sitcom about the cavemen. But as long as Jackson misses time -- and he's already been ruled out for Week 12 -- Pittman's worth a play.

    Justin Gage, WR, Titans. He was pretty much off the fantasy radar for the first half of the season, and even got shut out entirely in Week 9. But check out the last two weeks: eight catches, 294 yards and three TDs. Kerry Collins is slingin' it all over the field, and Gage is his favorite deep threat.

    Ted Ginn Jr. , WR, Dolphins. It seems like every week either Ginn or counterpart Greg Camarillo is listed in this space. They should both be owned at this point, and the Dolphins offense continued to be productive, even during a "bad" day against the Raiders last Sunday.

    Daniel Graham, TE, Broncos. Only if you're really hurting, but Graham has caught a touchdown in four out of his last five.

    Trade Deadline Nears
    For most fantasy leagues, the trade deadline arrives this week or next. Here are a few guys to consider acquiring -- and three to deal -- before the trade clock strikes midnight.

    Three Guys I'd Try To Trade For:

    1) Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. He's back. He's healthy. He just ran for 105 yards and a score against the Texans. His fantasy playoff schedulue (Weeks 14-16): Bengals, Lions, at Jags.

    2) Ryan Grant, RB, Packers. Fresh off a 145-yard effort against the Bears, the window to "buy low" has slammed shut. Still like him moving forward.

    3) Lance Moore, WR, Saints. He's probably got a much lower price tag than teammate Marques Colston, but against all conventional wisdom, Moore the top WR in New Orleans, even with Colston back in the lineup.

    Three Guys I'd Try To Trade Away

    1) Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs. I just don't trust this guy at all -- he can barely get on the field because of all his legal troubles, and when he plays, he looks old and slow. Take what you can get for him.

    2) T. J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals. Still not feeling great about the Ryan Fitzpatrick experience at quarterback, and his playoff schedule is bad.

    3) Peyton Hillis, RB, Broncos. Just to "sell high." Tatum Bell is already stealing carries, and this is going to be a perfect time-share before too long.

    You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers
    Thomas Jones: Tom Croke/Icon SMI

    I keep seeing Thomas Jones on your sell high list. However, he is absolutely tearing it up, he put up great numbers against New England, and his schedule is a cakewalk after next week against Tennessee. Should I hang on to him from here on? I have (QB) Brees, (RB) Portis, T-Jones, D-Mac, Dunn, (WR) Wayne, Bowe, Roy Williams, Avery and (TE) Scaife
    -- Frank, Atlanta

    You're right, Frank, I've listed Jones as a sell-high guy for a few weeks now, and he's still absolutely killing it. There are a couple of reasons why I thought Jones peaked two weeks ago: Leon Washington was starting to emerge, and it was getting late in the season for Jones' 30-year-old legs. And you know what? I was right. Leon Washington has been dynamic, and it is currently late in the year. (See how I clouded over my error by listing two other examples where I was dead-on correct? Pretty slick, huh? Stick with me, Frank.) Anyway, Jones had 30 carries on Thursday against the Jets, and while I don't see him hitting that number again, he's a fine start at RB for the rest of the year. Looking at your team, I'd probably hold Jones and try to deal Warrick Dunn to a desperate owner (not sure Dunn's workload increase much from where it's been; Earnest Graham may be out, but here comes the Caddy!) Maybe you can upgrade yourself at tight end in the process.

    I've been offered Larry Fitzgerald and L.J. for Thomas Jones and Vincent Jackson. Do I pull the trigger?
    -- Josh, Waterloo, Iowa

    Hey, Josh, it's a fair offer on paper. L.J. is definitely the X-factor; he had a few big games earlier this year, but are more on the way? Will he avoid further league suspension and even get an opportunity? To be honest, I don't think so. Johnson doesn't look like his 2006 self, even when he's getting the bulk of the carries. I don't know the rest of your team's roster, so I'm not sure if you have other RBs you could turn to if Johnson fizzles (if you do, make the trade). I'd love to get Fitzgerald, but in this trade offer I see L.J. as a poison pill.

    Start Warner or Peyton Week 12? I like Peyton at S.D., but the guy I'm playing has both Fitzgerald and Boldin. Would it make more sense to COVER him and start Warner?
    -- Christian, Lawai, Kauai

    Aloha, Christian. I like Peyton a lot this week, too, and with Warner facing the tenacious Giants' defense, this is the one and only week I'd give Peyton the start over Kurt. I never worry about who my opponent starts -- it's always best to start your strongest lineup and let the chips fall. You've got a great situation at quarterback, so if your league's trade deadline hasn't passed, I'd try to move one of them (I think Warner continues to out-produce Manning for the rest of the year) to upgrade at another position.

    I need to start 1 RB, 1 WR & 1 RB/WR next week. Here are my choices: Adrian Peterson @ JAC, Ryan Grant @ NO, Deuce McAllister vs. GB, Terrell Owens vs. SF, Lee Evans @ KC or Braylon Edwards vs. HOU. First week of the playoffs and I need a win.
    -- Steven, Amarillo, Texas

    Great question, Steven. In the playoffs, it's always important to spend some extra time looking at matchups, but it's also the time to start the studs that got you to the postseason in the first place. Don't out-think yourself. For your three slots, I'd start A.D. at RB (no-brainer), Grant at flex, and T.O. at WR. It's true a couple of these guys face weaker defenses on paper. But for playoff weeks, I try to set a lineup that would leave me with the fewest regrets if I happen to get beat, and that almost always means starting the stars, as long as they're healthy.

    As always, thanks for the questions, and keep 'em coming.

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