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I am frustrated. I mentioned last week how owners should get creative when dealing with their bye weeks. I shared with you how I coped with a tough Week 4 by making two trades that value-wise weren’t in my favor, but allowed me to upgrade my starting lineup – or so I thought. Let’s look at the three trades I’ve made in this league:
My starting lineup after these trades was Donovan McNabb, LaDanian Tomlinson, Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith (CAR), Brent Celek, Indianapolis D/ST and a kicker. I was feeling pretty good about my team and thought that I was the team to beat in this 12-team league. Think about that for a second. In a 12-team league I had acquired three first round players. However, if you reevaluate the trades now it appears I not only gave up more value, but downgraded my starters in the process!
Cedric Benson came out of nowhere and has outperformed both Portis and Johnson. Matt Forte has been a huge bust and Thomas Jones is now the clear-cut #1 running back after Leon Washington broke his leg last week. Now I am sitting in ninth place going into week eight and wondering what to do with this team. On paper, my team is by far the best team in the league, but on the field they have collectively screwed me this season. I am watching my players play like crap every Sunday while lesser known guys like Ray Rice, Cedric Benson, Miles Austin, Mike Sims-Walker and freakin’ Vernon Davis are having monster seasons.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson this season and never again will I pay for big names.
The last time Sanchez faced the Dolphins, he put up 172 yards and a touchdown. This time he gets them at home and the Dolphins will be without starting cornerback Will Allen. In a week where Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Carson Palmer are on their bye week, Sanchez could be a serviceable fill in as him and Braylon Edwards should both have nice games.
He has scored 13 points or more in five of his six games this season and is facing a Ravens defense that has been vulnerable against the pass. Orton has scored 17, 19 and 18 points in the last three weeks and seems to be clicking on all cylinders with Brandon Marshall and has a legitimate pass-catching back in Knowshon Moreno. He doesn’t take a lot of chances, which limits his mistakes, so we can expect a nice game from him on Sunday.
Other Mentions: David Garrard (@ TEN), Brett Favre (@ GB), Joe Flacco (vs. DEN)
My first reaction is that this game is going to be a shootout. However, the more I think about it the more I think the Saints are going to run away with the victory. The Saints defense has been the best at creating turnovers (13 picks, 5 fumbles) so limit your expectations for Matty Ice this weekend.
I’m telling you that there are very few constants in the NFL. Dan Dierdorf’s mustache, Brian Westbrook missing at least one game and Eli Manning turning into Ryan Leaf in the second half of the season. OK, so he’s not that bad, but I talked about it when I argued about the two Steve Smith’s (so much for that argument) and the numbers don’t lie. In the last three years, Eli Manning has a 75.2 QB rating, 19 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in the second half. This is compared to an 88.5 QB rating, 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in the first half. Sell high.
Other Mentions: Alex Smith (@ IND), Marc Bulger (@ DET), Chad Henne (@ NYJ)
This is usually a given every week, but with just two double digit performances in six games this season. However, this week he gets to face the Cleveland Browns who are one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. I expect a nice bounce back game for Forte and he should get back on pace to finish the season strong to save his 2009 fantasy season.
Beanie Wells still hasn’t officially been named the starter, but he is slowly getting more carries and last week he carried the ball 14 times to Hightower’s four. Hightower is still in line to get most of the goal line carries, but Arizona faces the Carolina defense this week, which lets up the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs. So there should be plenty of points to go around.
Other Mentions: Joseph Addai (vs. SF), Kevin Smith (vs. STL), LeSean McCoy (vs. NYG)
Ryan Grant has been very average this season, as he has only topped 100 rushing yards once this season (last week) and scored just three touchdowns. This week he faces a Minnesota defense that is especially tough against the run. The Vikings have let up just two rushing touchdowns all year and the last time they faced Green Bay they held Grant to just 51 yards on 11 carries.
Greene had a monster game for the Jets last week, but let’s remember it was against the Raiders. This week he faces a tough Miami defense, which should do a nice job stopping Thomas Jones and Greene. With Leon Washington out for the season, Greene will be a nice option because the Jets do run the ball a lot, but I suggest you wait until after this week to explore that option.
Other Mentions: Knowshon Moreno (@ BAL), Marshawn Lynch (vs. HOU), Willis McGahee (vs. DEN)
It’s time to stop making excuses and time to start realizing that Hakeem Nicks is a legit wide receiver. He has scored in four straight games, which tells me that Eli likes looking in his direction when the team gets into the red zone.
Cleveland’s defense is absolutely dreadful and I expect the Bears to have a nice day on offense here. Cutler will have his way all afternoon with the Browns’ secondary, so this is why I like both Hester and Knox. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with Hester because of his playmaking ability after the catch, but both players have great speed and have shown they can perform in this offense.
Other Mentions: Mike Sims-Walker (@ TEN), Kevin Walter (@ BUF), Pierre Garcon/Austin Collie (vs. SF)
It’s been a disappointing year so far for Jennings, who has just one touchdown. While the Vikings generally struggle against the pass, they do pressure the quarterback, which is evident with their NFL-best 24 sacks. This will throw Aaron Rodgers’ timing off on Jennings’ deep routes and will limit his impact on the game. The last time these two teams met Jennings caught only three balls for 31 yards.
Champ Bailey is one of the best shutdown corners in the NFL and it shows as the Broncos have let up just two touchdowns this season. Mason won’t be completely shut down, but if you’re expecting a double-digit effort out of him you should think again.
Other Mentions: Mario Manningham (@ PHI), Roy Williams (vs. SEA), Terrell Owens (vs. HOU)
The Chargers have let up the eighth-most points against tight ends and Zach Miller is really the only legit offensive option in the Raiders’ passing game. Their quarterback situation is probably one of the worst in the last 10 years, but if they throw the ball it’s going in his direction.
This is a sleeper pick for deeper leagues, but Pettigrew could be a nice play this week against a bad Rams defense. He is a freakish athlete who should be a fine tight end for years to come and him and Stafford were building a nice rapport before Stafford went down with an injury. Reports are that Stafford practiced on Thursday so there’s a chance he might be back for Sunday’s game, which is good news for Pettigrew.
Other Mentions: Donald Lee (vs. MIN), Marcedes Lewis (@ TEN), Kevin Boss (@ PHI)
It’s no secret that the Broncos’ defense is tough on an offense, but they are especially tough on tight ends. They’ve let up just 17 catches and one touchdown to opposing tight ends in six games. Heap hasn’t found the end zone since week two so it’s a safe bet that he is kept out this week.
Vernon Davis is having a breakout year. He is coming off a three-touchdown performance against Houston and has six touchdowns on the season. However, he faces the Colts this weekend, who have been the toughest against opposing tight ends this season. The Colts have let up just 26 catches for 193 yards and zero touchdowns so Davis will have some trouble scoring in double digits this weekend.
Other Mentions: Randy McMichael (@ DET), Anthony Fasano (@ NYJ), Greg Olsen (vs. CLE)
Buffalo’s offense is one of the worst in the NFL this season, so the Texans should have no trouble holding them to under 17 points. Mix in a couple sacks and turnovers and you have yourself a nice fantasy day.
Much like the Bills, the Browns can’t get anything done offensively. Derek Anderson has been a complete failure and the team’s top wide receiver is a guy named Massaquoi. The only threat to score a touchdown in this game is Josh Cribbs and that’s on kickoff returns. The Bears should flirt with a shutout and force Anderson into a couple mistakes.
This is the week’s most anticipated matchup. I expect this game to be a shootout because the Vikings struggle against the pass. They couldn’t contain Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and company so don’t think that Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver and company will struggle to rack up points against the Vikings’ defense.
The Falcons face one of the best offenses in the NFL and with the loss of cornerback Brian Williams they are going to find it that much harder to stop Drew Brees from throwing all over them. The Saints have too many weapons for the Falcons’ defense so expect them to air it out often.
Tags: Beanie Wells, Brandon Pettigrew, Derrick Mason, Devin Hester, Eli Manning, Fantasy Radar, Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks, Johnny Knox, Kyle Orton, Mark Sanchez, Matt Forte, Matt Ryan, Ryan Grant, Shonn Greene, Start 'Em/Sit 'Em, Todd Heap, Vernon Davis, Zach Miller