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Happy Halloween, fantasy football fans!
So I have always considered Halloween as the unofficial halfway point of the fantasy football season. By now, you know if your team is a contender or pretender. You know if your roster is haunted or not. You know if they have had a spell cast against them. You know if the outcome will be spooky or not.
Ok, now that the required Halloween references have been thrown out there, let’s get back to business. No Patriots this week, so this week you can focus your entire energies towards your fantasy football team, or teams.
Here’s how yours truly did last week…a Week 7 that had me swimming in a sea of mediocrity.
Matt Schaub: 20 of 30 through the air, 264 yds., 2 TDs, no INTs (he’s been scary good this season)
Ben Roethlisberger: Just 14 completions for 175 yds. and 1 TD (good enough to win their game, but not good enough in the fantasy world)
Joseph Addai: 20 carries for 64 yds. and a TD (not great yardage production, but that TD makes him a good pick in my book)
Laurence Maroney: 13 rushes for 43 yds. and a TD (ditto)
Antonio Gates: 5 grabs for 55 yds., no TDs (continued his streak of 5-catch games, but no TD makes him a Week 7 dud)
Kurt Warner: 20-36 for 231 yds., just 1 TD and 1 INT (like Big Ben, good enough to win his game, but a flop in fantasy world)
Donovan McNabb: 15-25 for 156 yds., just 1 TD (again, an NFL win but a fantasy flop)
Brandon Jacobs: 13 carries for 76 yds. and a TD (with Bradshaw hurt, Jacobs rose to the occasion)
Michael Crabtree: 5 catches in his debut for 56 yds. (he’s an eventual fantasy stud, just not yet)
Miami Defense: Racked up 5 sacks, 3 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, but let up 46 points vs. New Orleans (yikes, what happened in that second half?)
So this week, I am going to take some chances. Why not, right? Here we go…
No one would consider Jacksonville’s offense to be all that prolific, but in a Week 4 win over Tennessee, this week’s opponent, Garrard torched the Titans secondary for 323 yards and 3 TDs. Tennessee ranks last in the NFL in pass defense. If Garrard can protect the ball (6 fumbles in 6 games), Garrard’s a great play this week.
To say that Matt Forte has been a major disappointment this season would be an understatement. The second-year back has just 1 TD and one 100+ yard game on the year, after a breakout rookie season. Last week against Cincinnati, he carried the ball just 6 times. This is the week Forte turns it around though. The Bears host Cleveland…’nuff said.
Another big season from a receiver named Rice…brings you back, doesn’t it? Sidney has developed a great rapport with QB Brett Favre, highlighted by a 10-catch, 136-yard performance last week in their loss to the Steelers. Rice had a nice day in Week 4’s matchup vs. Green Bay, totalling 70 yards and a score. Look for Rice’s breakout season to continue with a productive day Sunday at Lambeau.
The Giants rookie receiver is trending upward, while New York’s other early breakout receiver, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, continue to trend downward. Nicks has touchdown grabs in four straight games, including last week’s 62-yard catch against Arizona. The Giants will look to get back to their winning ways in Philadelphia this weekend, and Nicks should be one of the keys to victory.
The Chargers are in the middle of AFC West’s garbage teams. Last week, they feasted on the rebuilding Chiefs, holding them to 7 points and just 203 yards of total offense while notching 4 sacks and 3 INTs. This week, they get the Oakland Raiders, led by JaMarcus “The Turnover Machine” Russell. Start the Chargers if you’ve got ’em.
Smith, a former #1 overall pick, had a huge stat line in just one half of play last week, putting up 3 second half TD passes to Vernon Davis, in a game the Niners eventually lost to Houston. He was a popular name on the waiver wire in every fantasy league, but don’t expect big things from him this week. San Fran faces Indianapolis, a team that got all-pro Bob Sanders back last week. Look elsewhere for your bye-week replacement QB.
Another hot name on this week’s waiver wire was Jets rookie running back Shonn Greene, who came in for an injured Leon Washington and put up 144 yards on the ground with 2 trips to the end zone in the 38-0 win over Oakland. With Washington out long term, Greene will fill the #2 RB role behind veteran Thomas Jones, who’s having a heck of a year himself. This week though, the Jets face the 4th ranked rushing defense, Miami. Greene should struggle, and this is still Jones’ team.
Since returning from his 3-game suspension in Week 4, Lynch hasn’t eclipsed the 70-yard mark in a game yet, and notched his first TD of the season just last week vs. Carolina. He’s getting the lion share of the carries over Fred Jackson, but Lynch just isn’t doing much with them. This week he faces the Houston Texans, a team that in the last few weeks have successfully shut down the likes of Frank Gore, Cedric Benson, and the duo of Tim Hightower & Beanie Wells. Look for Lynch’s struggles to continue this week.
Local papers in Miami are reporting that Ginn, who has had a bad case of the drops lately, has lost his starting role in favor of rookie Brian Hartline. Ginn has never lived up to expectations, and faces an uphill battle if he’s going to be fantasy relevant at all this season. Couple that with the fact that the Dolphins face top 10 pass defenses in five of their next six games, and all signs point to Ginn falling off the fantasy map.
You’re going to start him, we know that. But Gonzalez hasn’t lived up to the hype yet in his first season in Atlanta. He’s averaging just 40 receiving yards in his last four games, and this week he faces a Saints team on Monday night that hasn’t given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end yet this season. Temper your expectations for T.G. this week…his best fantasy days are clearly behind him.