|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
This week in sports, we saw the New York Yankees roll to their record 27th World Series championship. The Yanks, complete with their $200+ million payroll, dished out mucho dinero in the offseason, as they always do, and after nine seasons of failed investments, their purchases finally paid off.
In the fantasy football world, now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the NFL season, many fantasy leagues will likely have their fantasy trade deadline coming up in the next week or two. So like the Bronx Bombers, now is the time to make purchases that will pay off. If you are still in contention, go for broke on some deadline deals to sure up your squad. Laugh in the face of transaction fees. Go after those players you want, and stop at nothing to go get them. It paid off for the Yanks, and it can pay off for you as well.
After I review my solid performance from last week, I will highlight some of the players worth pursuing for this week’s slate of NFL action. The fantasy playoff stretch is here…go the extra mile and do what it takes to take home the glory!
David Garrard: 14 of 27 for just 139 yds., 0 TDs, 2 INTs (a stinker from a usually solid Garrard)
Matt Forte: 26 carries for 90 yds. w/ 2 TDs (could be a turning point for the 2nd year back)
Sidney Rice: Just 4 catches for 40 yds., no TDs (still a great WR for the stretch run)
Hakeem Nicks: Also just 4 catches for 53 yds. w/ no TDs (minor bump in the road for the talented rookie WR)
San Diego Defense: Just 16 points against and 180 total yds. given up, 1 INT and 5 sacks (tough matchup this week vs. a hungry Giants team looking to rebound)
Alex Smith: 19 of 32 for 198 yds., just 1 TD, and 1 INT (he’ll need to do more to get San Fran back in the playoff picture)
Shonn Greene: Just 8 carries for 18 yds., plus a costly fumble that was returned for a TD (the rookie will be great, just not yet)
Marshawn Lynch: 9 carries for 43 yds., 3 catches for just 6 yds. (still hasn’t hit his stride yet)
Ted Ginn Jr.: Zero catches, but 2 huge returns for TDs on special teams (interesting stat line for Ginn Jr.; in most leagues, he was a dud)
Tony Gonzalez: Six catches for 89 yds., no TDs (better than I thought he’d do, he’s still got something left in the tank)
Revelation of the week: I am great at picking stinkers. I’d say I was 5-for-5 in the loser department, but I probably batted .400 in my High Five. Hey, still Hall of Fame numbers if you ask me.
Now, to this week’s High and Low Five…
He is among the top 5 QBs in the league, and this week he faces a depleted Colts secondary that has lost All Pro Safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Marlon Jackson for the year with injuries in the past few days. Schaub will be without his favorite target, as tight end Owen Daniels is out with the year as well after a Week 8 injury, but the Texans’ offense is still good enough to exploit Indy’s weakened defensive corps. Look for big things from Schaub this week.
Charles will start for the suspended Larry Johnson, and may get the brunt of the workload for the rest of the year if Chiefs management decides to sideline L.J. for the season and roll with their younger, more versatile back. Charles, who is more of an outside runner and better pass catcher than Johnson, will be making his starting debut against Jacksonville’s 25th ranked rushing defense. If Kansas City can stay in this game, look for a steady dose of Charles out of the backfield, both on the ground and through the air.
The second-year Ravens rusher has had a breakout year this season, and he torched the Bengals back in Week 5′s meeting, running wild for 143 yards and a score. Rice has had success over the last two weeks against top rushing defenses in Minnesota and Denver, so he should succeed this weekend against a suspect Bengal front seven.
Welker will look to come off the bye week and regain the momentum he had before the week off, totalling 257 yards through the air in the last two games. He’ll face two rookie cornerbacks from his former team, which should lead to big things through the air for the Patriots offense.
The Packers’ defense will get to feast on Tampa Bay’s rookie signal caller Josh Freeman, who will be making his first career NFL start. I see the Pack avenging their rough Week 8 performance, when they gave up a whopping 38 points against Minnesota, and getting back on track against a dreadful Bucs team.
Ryan and the Falcons are coming off a short work week after their loss to the Saints on Monday night. The ex-BC Eagle has struggled as of late, throwing two or more INTs in his last three games, along with a very poor completion percentage. He’ll face a Washington Redskins team that, while they don’t do much right on offense, does boast the league’s second-ranked pass defense.
L.T. has his hands full this week against the stout front seven of the New York Giants. Tomlinson hasn’t had more than 71 yards in a game this season, and he’s losing carries to the younger, faster Darren Sproles more and more each week. You’ll still start him because of who he is, but you can’t expect elite stats from the future Hall of Famer anymore.
The Bronco rookie will face the league’s top rushing defense on Monday night against the Steelers. Moreno hasn’t had the big play ability he was known for in college as a Georgia Bulldog, not having a run longer than 17 yards this season, and he is still splitting time with veteran Correll Buckhalter.
“The Original Steve Smith” has taken a back seat to “The New Steve Smith” in New York this season, and Steve Smith (the Carolina one) hasn’t been happy all season long with his role in the Panthers offense. Carolina has gone very heavy on the run this season, leaving Smith dealing with potential career lows in stats across the board this season. He finally caught his first TD of the year last week vs. Arizona, but hasn’t eclipsed the 100-yard mark since Week 2.
Miller will likely be used more in blocking schemes than pass-catching schemes against the Broncos Monday night, which won’t make his fantasy owners very happy campers. Denver has only given up two TDs through the air at home this season, so look for Pittsburgh to try and beat them with a ground attack instead.