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Breaking up is the hardest thing to do. I just pulled out that cliché because it holds true in both real life and fantasy football.
Over the years, I have learned that you do not win fantasy football leagues by holding onto big names waiting for them to start producing for you. I have found out that you have to make as little of an emotional connection to your roster as possible. You can’t be afraid to drop players like Terrell Owens and Derrick Ward for guys like Mike Sims-Walker and Ricky Williams because believe it or not, the owner who owns the latter pair is feeling a lot better about his team than the other guy.
So I am here to tell you it’s OK to drop big name guys who aren’t producing because if they haven’t done anything positive five weeks into the season, then what can you expect going forward? Obviously I am not talking about players that have been underachieving due to injury because clearly they can come back and contribute positively to your team. I am talking about these guys, who I think are the biggest names that you should feel free to drop at this point in the season:
Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, LenDale White, Darren McFadden, Derrick Ward, Laveranues Coles and Torry Holt- see you guys next year.
When healthy, Hasselbeck has been a fantasy monster. No, not the scary kind, but the kind that throw for seven touchdowns in two games. No team has let up more passing yards than the Cardinals, so look for Hasselbeck to have a field day on Sunday.
Last week, I told you to bench Carson Palmer, but this week Palmer is a great play. Fantasy football is funny like that. It’s all about the matchups and this week should feature a shootout between the Texans and Bengals.
Other Mentions: David Garrard (vs. STL), Brett Favre (vs. BAL), Jake Delhomme (@ TB)
Cassell has secretly been a very solid fantasy option this season with three straight two-touchdown games. However, this week he faces a Redskins defense that has let up the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Cassell usually scores his points in garbage time (hey it still counts in fantasy), but there will probably be no garbage time this week against a pretty bad Redskins team.
Orton enjoyed a nice game against the Patriots last weekend, but this week he faces another tough task with the Chargers. San Diego’s defense has let up the eight fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and has four interceptions on the season. The Chargers are awful against the run so I expect the Broncos offense to focus on establishing the run game on the road.
Other Mentions: Eli Manning (@ NO), Joe Flacco (@ MIN), Mark Sanchez (vs. BUF)
Reports out of Pittsburgh are that Parker is a full participant in practice, which is good news because he is just in time to face the second worst defense against the run. Mike Tomlin has said that Parker is still the starter, but with what Mendenhall has done in Parker’s absence, it’s hard to dismiss him completely. I see this as more of a timeshare moving forward so obviously you are safe and encouraged to start Mendenhall this week as well.
He’s the starter in Tampa Bay and Derrick Ward has looked awful so far this season. The Panthers have given up six total touchdowns to running backs, including three receiving TDs, where Cadillac tends to excel. The Bucs offense will have to control the clock if they want to give themselves a chance to win, so they will give Williams a healthy amount of carries.
Other Mentions: Knowshon Moreno (@ SD), Leon Washington (vs. BUF), LeSean McCoy (@ OAK)
The Ravens give most of the work to Ray Rice, but near the goal line is where McGahee has shined. This has made McGahee a touchdown or bust type of player, which doesn’t bode well for him this week because the Vikings have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season.
Smith has looked awful since injuring his shoulder in Week 3. In the last two weeks Smith has a total of 146 yards and is averaging 2.1 yards per carry. He did manage to score two short touchdowns against the Bears so he hasn’t been a huge disappointment, but he has looked far from the Kevin Smith we saw at the beginning of the season. He faces a Packers defense that has let up the fourth fewest points to running backs this season.
Other Mentions: Jamal Lewis (@ PIT), Marshawn Lynch (@ NYJ), Larry Johnson (@ WAS)
Sims-Walker let a lot of fantasy owners down last week by violating some team rule and being ruled inactive just an hour before game time. This week, barring any other events that will keep him from playing, Sims-Walker should redeem himself against one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Jaguars pass game has been very good at home and Sims-Walker still leads the team in receiving touchdowns.
On the other side of the matchup, Donnie Avery finally looks healthy and Bulger should be back on the field. The Jaguars are awful against the pass and Avery is really the only threat the Rams have to catch the ball. He should find the end zone at least once as the Rams fight to keep up with the Jaguars offense.
Other Mentions: Nate Burelson (vs. ARI), Hines Ward (vs. CLE), Bernard Berrian (vs. BAL)
The numbers don’t lie. Owens has been a colossal disappointment so far this season with just 12 receptions for 202 yards and one touchdown. That’s worse than Miles Austin’s stat line from Sunday afternoon. The Jets have been the third toughest against wide receivers in fantasy football this year, so don’t look for Owens to turn his season around this week. Or ever.
I was wrong on Bowe last week, but this week Bowe faces a tougher defense and I don’t see him getting into the end zone. He has yet to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a single game this year, so if he doesn’t score, his fantasy output will be limited.
Other Mentions: Devery Henderson (vs. NYG), Vincent Jackson (vs. DEN), DeSean Jackson (@ OAK)
The Vikings have allowed the most points to opposing tight ends and Todd Heap has been productive, especially in PPR formats. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2, but in the last three weeks, Heap has collected 15 receptions for 128 yards.
Finley has emerged as Green Bay’s top tight end and has been getting a lot of looks from Aaron Rodgers in the red zone. The Lions have let up a league-high six touchdowns to tight ends so far this season, so it’s a safe bet that Finley finds pay dirt this weekend.
Other Mentions: Benjamin Watson (vs. TEN), Visanthe Shiancoe (vs. BAL), Tony Scheffler (@ SD)
Shockey faces his former team this week, but I think the Giants get the best of him in this matchup. Drew Brees has proven to be mortal in his last two games and the Giants defense has actually been pretty tough against the pass game.
Fantasy owners had high hopes for Keller this season, but he has disappointed greatly. He didn’t register a single catch Monday night against Miami and afterwards, Sanchez said that he needed to look for Keller more often. With the addition of Braylon Edwards it will be easy to forget about Keller. So until I see it, I am not playing him in any leagues.
Other Mentions: Zach Miller (vs. PHI), Brandon Pettigrew (@ GB), Bo Scaife (@ NE)
The Redskins face a very mediocre Chiefs offense this week and have forced at least two turnovers in their last two games. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins defense forced a couple turnovers this week as well.
The Saints are normally known for their offense, but it’s their defense that has been dominating recently. The Saints have forced 13 turnovers in just four games and have scored three touchdowns. This week they get the Giants offense, which has been clicking on all cylinders, but with Eli Manning hurting, there is a good chance the Saints will get to play against David Carr.
Rarely do you see Baltimore’s defense on the “do not start” list, but this week they are facing the white hot Vikings. The Ravens have been vulnerable against the pass game, so expect Brett Favre to have a nice game and Adrian Peterson should be himself. I don’t see the Ravens having a great day in fantasy.
Seattle’s defense has recorded two shutouts this season, but don’t let that fool you. When facing a good offense this defense does not perform well. In two games (STL, JAX) the Seahawks defense scored 40 points, but in three games against the 49ers, Bears and Colts, the Seahawks defense only scored a combined six points. Consider the Cardinals a part of the latter group.
Tags: Cadillac Williams, Carson Palmer, Donnie Avery, Dustin Keller, Dwayne Bowe, Fantasy Radar, Jeremy Shockey, Jermichael Finley, Kevin Smith, Kyle Orton, Matt Cassell, Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Sims-Walker, Rashard Mendenhall, Start 'Em/Sit 'Em, Terrell Owens, Todd Heap, Willie Parker, Willis McGahee