October 31, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Into The Great Wide Open
Reggie Wayne John Sommers II/Icon SMI

Without question, Randy Moss and Reggie Wayne are both top-5 receivers in real-life football and fantasyland, as well. And yet, if "SI.com & Friends," for example, did a redraft of our 12-team, standard-scoring league -- knowing everything we know about the 2008 season so far ... including Tom Brady's season-ending knee injury and Peyton Manning's double-secret, double-knee operations -- I'm not sure that either Moss or Wayne would have gone in Round 1 -- let alone the top half of Round 2.

Wide receivers may be gold in PPR leagues and excellent trade commodities in standard-scoring ones, even when they're struggling (Torry Holt, Roy Williams); but at the core of their existence represents one indisputable truth, year in and year out: Receivers are helpless without a great quarterback getting 'em the ball -- which may explain why Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh have been fantasy roadkill this year, despite being in full health ... and why I just cannot commit to putting Moss on my "WR Locks for 110 Yards and/or 1 TD" list, even though he should be an automatic entry every single week. Am I crazy for slighting Randy this week? Am I crazy for assuming Wayne will score two TDs against the Patriots? Accuscore.com has its own estimates with the real rivalry inside the rivalry:

Larry Fitzgerald: 6 catches, 78 yards, 0.5 TDs
Steve Smith: 5 catches, 56 yards, 0.3 TDs
Final Score: Colts 24, Patriots 19

Speaking Of The Colts ...

This week marks the 20th anniversary of perhaps the single-greatest fantasy game in Monday Night Football history: Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson rushing for 159 yards and four TDs on Halloween Night in '88, as part of the Colts' 55-23 dismantling of the Broncos in the old Hoosier Dome. Dickerson possessed impressive speed throughout his 11-year NFL career (Rams, Colts, Raiders, Falcons); but for one evening, 20 years ago, I've never seen a faster man carrying the football.

Five Highest-Scoring Games -- Week 9

1. Arizona @ St. Louis
2. Miami @ Denver
3. Houston @ Minnesota
4. N.Y. Jets @ Buffalo
5. New England @ Indianapolis

Fountain Of Youth

Fifteen years from now, NFL historians will revere the RB Class of '08 in the same way the QB Class of '83 has been deified. We're talking 10 potential franchise backs -- Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Kevin Smith, Matt Forte, Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall (out for the season) and Jamaal Charles, to name a few. Here are some Week 8 projections for the '08 class, courtesy of Pigskin Addiction:

Chris Johnson, Titans: 100 yards, 1 TD
Steve Slaton, Texans: 100 total yards, 1 TD
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: 35 total yards
Kevin Smith, Lions: 85 total yards, 1 TD
Darren McFadden, Raiders: 35 total yards
Matt Forte, Bears: 125 total yards, 2 TDs
Tim Hightower: Cardinals: 35 yards

WR Locks for 110 Yards and/or 1 TD -- Week 9

1. Larry Fitzgerald vs. St. Louis
2. Torry Holt vs. Atlanta (one last chance for redemption)
3. Lee Evans vs. N.Y. Jets
4. Brandon Marshall vs. Miami
5. Reggie Wayne vs. New England
6. Greg Jennings vs. Tennessee
7. Braylon Edwards vs. Baltimore
8. Plaxico Burress vs. Pittsburgh
9. Calvin Johnson vs. Chicago

Target Practice, Part Deux

In every Wednesday Clicks, I faithfully list the Targets -- the number of times per game a receiver or tight end gets thrown to. But, as a reader recently pointed out, I never release Target information with running backs -- which is an unpardonable sin on my part since Reggie Bush and Frank Gore are carrying my teams in one or both of my Point-Per-Reception (PPR) leagues. So, without further ado, here are the Top 20 running backs in Targets (per game) through Week 8:

1. Reggie Bush, Saints (8.7 Targets)
2. Frank Gore, 49ers (6.0 Targets)
3. Steven Jackson, Rams (5.5 Targets)
4. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (5.1 Targets)
5. Marion Barber, Cowboys (4.9 Targets)
6. Matt Forte, Bears (4.9 Targets)
7. Dominic Rhodes, Colts (4.7 Targets)
8. Brian Westbrook, Eagles (4.6 Targets)
9. Marshawn Lynch, Bills (4.4 Targets)
10. Warrick Dunn, Bucs (4.3 Targets)
11. Kevin Faulk, Patriots (4.2 Targets)
12. Jerious Norwood, Falcons (4.1 Targets)
13. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (4.0 Targets)
14. Leon Washington, Jets (3.9 Targets)
15. Brandon Jackson, Packers (3.8 Targets)
16. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (3.7 Targets)
17. Chris Johnson, Titans (3.6 Targets)
18. Kevin Smith, Lions (3.6 Targets)
19. Chester Taylor, Vikings (3.6 Targets)
20. Chris Perry, Bengals (3.6 Targets)

Mail Call
Marion Barber: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Nikhilendra in India asks: I have Matt Forte and Chris Johnson, who I'm playing since they are up against Detroit and Green Bay, respectively. I can start only one more out of Clinton Portis and Marion Barber. Problem is, Portis is up against the Steelers and Barber is up against the Giants. With Barber's recently diminished status at RB, would it be wise to start Portis? Or do you suggest a different lineup?

Also, for tight ends ... Owen Daniels vs. Minnesota or Tony Gonzalez vs. the Bucs? And when picking just two wide receivers, whom would you start among Roddy White, Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Eddie Royal and Santonio Holmes?

Answer: Nik, does it really matter what I say here? You have an absolute embarrassment of riches, my friend, if we're talking about a 10- or 12-team league. But since you asked ... I'd go with Forte, Johnson and Portis at RB, Gonzo at TE and White and Bowe as the pass-catchers. Now, in all honesty, the Roddy White-against-Oakland pick may end up a spectacular failure, since ex-Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall will surely be matched up against White -- and Hall certainly knows every move in White's repertoire.

Pato from South America says: I have a dilemma. I have two byes this week at TE (Antonio Gates) and Defensive Player (Patricio Willis). I need to fill at least one of their positions, to have a good chance at winning this week. The problem is, right now, my bench is Matt Schaub, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, Dominic Rhodes, Chester Taylor. I think that obviously leaves me with Taylor (my Adrian Peterson handcuff) and Rhodes. My RBs this week are Purple Jesus (Peterson), Clinton Portis and Ryan Grant. What should I do?

Answer: Pato, how badly do you need to win this week? Because, from my perspective, I would have great difficulty dumping both Taylor and Rhodes to satisfy the always-tenuous spots of tight end defensive flex for one week. Of Rhodes and Taylor, I'd rather have Chester -- even though Peterson has been relatively healthy and Joseph Addai is among the walking wounded. Of course, there's another bold course of action, if you're game: Trading V-Jax to a receiver-needy team or Philip Rivers' club (satisfying the QB-WR handcuff) ... while getting a good tight end (like Greg Olsen) AND a good defender (Cortland Finnegan) in return -- as part of a 1-for-2 trade. That way, you're covered this week at TE and IDP ... and you still get to save Rhodes and Taylor for a rainy day.

Five Players Who'll Disappoint -- Week 9

1. Ben Roethlisberger (it pains me to write this)
2. Santonio Holmes (just not feeling him this year)
3. Earnest Graham
4. Jason Witten (start him at your own risk; Martellus Bennett will see more passes)
5. Julius Jones

Trivia Time

Who is the Broncos' single-season leader in TD receptions?
A) Shannon Sharpe
B) Anthony Miller
C) Steve Watson
D) Mark Jackson
E) Brandon Marshall
F) Rod Smith
G) Lionel Taylor
H) Al Denson

Five Unsung Players Who'll Score 1 TD

1. WR Steve Breaston (vs. Rams)
2. WR Domenick Hixon (vs. Cowboys)
3. TE Alex Smith (vs. Chiefs)
4. RB Jerious Norwood (vs. Raiders)
5. WR Brandon Lloyd (vs. Lions)

10 Sell-High Candidates

1. Dallas Clark (if you don't like gambling on his health)
2. Jay Cutler/Brandon Marshall (I bet you could get 1 top-10 QB and 2 stud RBs if you dangled these guys as a tandem-only)
3. Brandon Jacobs (yes, he has 5 TDs in his last four games -- but Derrick Ward keeps piling on the touches)
4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
5. Roy Williams (it's not too late)
6. Vincent Jackson
7. Ted Ginn, Jr. (for obvious reasons)
8. Kurt Warner (IF you can get a stud RB in return)
9. Chad Johnson (it's probably too late)
10. Owen Daniels (he's a no-lose proposition this week: Either reap the benefits of his great game vs. Minnesota ... or deal him for two strong players)

Trivia Answer

The answer is B. Anthony Miller (1994-96), a longtime Chargers receiver, holds the Broncos' franchise record for most TD receptions in one season (14), despite only three seasons in Denver. He edged out Steve Watson and Rod Smith for this honor ... but I have a feeling that Brandon Marshall will someday break this impressive mark.

10 Buy-Low Candidates

1. Ryan Torain (this could be his last week here)
2. Shaun Hill (the 49ers' QB -- this is more of a Mike Martz endorsement than Hill's)
3. Joseph Addai (a consensus top-6 pick back in August; treated like a leper in October)
4. Chad Pennington (his passing yardage has gone up five consecutive weeks)
5. Matt Jones (there's still time to steal him from another owner, via trade)
6. Greg Olsen (his price will shoot up after a killer week vs. Detroit)
7. Chester Taylor (I'm going to write his name here every week)
8. Brandon Lloyd
9. Greg Camarillo (a Wes Welker clone)
10. Derrick Ward (one of the best RB handcuffs in the league)

Have A Link, Comment or Question For Us?

You May Like