Fantasy Value Machine: Fast Willie Goes Down, Mendenhall Slides Up

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We caught a glimpse of vintage Willie Parker in week one, and have since seen a steady decline. The points -- we'll round and generalize, as many leagues use different scoring formats -- have gone from 30 to 10 to 2. And now he's hurt. He will not play in week four. He didn't score a TD in the past two weeks after putting a three score hurtin' on the Houston Texans in week one. Even if he comes back, you have enough evidence to worry about durability and week one being fluky (for what it's worth, he did have a 100 yard game in week two ... but that was on less than four yards per carry).

In light of this, Willie Parker is your top

this week.

On the flip-side, your top

in value is Rashard Mendenhall. Fast Willie received 53 carries in the first two weeks, so you know the Steelers like to run the football. Mewelde Moore becomes the de facto backup to Mendenhall, and he's nothing more than a third down back. Expect Mendenhall to get 20+ touches per game while Parker sits. Also, Mendenhall's value will never be higher, because people love the "new guy" starter ... and Mendenhall's likely to get stuffed all night against the Ravens this week.


Philip Rivers -- Gotta consider him an elite option at this point.

Jason Campbell -- He's got a little something going in Jim Zorn's offense with Santana Moss.

Steve Slaton -- What a coming out party that was in Tennessee. We loved Slaton in the preseason here at FanHouse, so it wasn't altogether shocking.

Correll Buckhalter -- Came through with some good stats after Brian Westbrook's exit. Westbrook now has a high ankle sprain, which poses a significant issue for a guy that uses speed and agility as his main weapons.

Trent Green -- He's now the starter in St. Louis, so there's that. The bad news is that the Rams are just brutal.

Brandon Lloyd -- He's emerged as the clear-cut number one WR option for the Bears. Sure, they don't rely upon the pass, but a number one wideout is still a viable option. Oh yeah, in weeks five through nine -- when you'll likely be missing guys due to bye weeks -- the Bears face the Lions twice and the Falcons. Stash Lloyd now.

Carson Palmer -- Quality numbers against the stellar Giants defense, so maybe he's not dead after all?

Brady Quinn -- Derek Anderson is down to his last chance. Unfortunately for Quinn, it's the Bengals. Quinn's stock is rising because everyone has given up on Anderson, but Anderson could torch Cincy, so let's hold off on the love for now.

Julius Jones -- Two straight big weeks, and it appears that with a decimated receiving corps Mike Holmgren is ready to keep the ball on the ground. We'll see, but I don't think his value ever rises higher than it currently is.

Chansi Stuckey -- Brett Favre loves him. You know how he always finds way to get the ball to guys he loves.

LeRon McClain -- Two TDs and more carries than Willis McGahee. He's surely a coveted player in all fantasy leagues this week. I suspect that once McGahee is finally full-go, McClain is relegated to backup duties again, though.

Joseph Addai -- He's back. Once the Colts offense can stay on the field for more than a third of the game he'll get more carries, too.

Antonio Bryant -- He was the main benefactor of Brian Griese's onslaught, and is thus worth a look should Joey Galloway continue to miss games.


Jeremy Shockey -- Sports hernia. Ouch. The reports say three to six weeks ... and I'm betting on the latter being much more realistic.

Brian Westbrook -- As I said above, the ankle sprain poses significant issues for Westbrook for the next few weeks.

Marc Bulger -- Lost his job, not that he was doing much with it anyway.

Derek Anderson -- As I stated earlier, this week is his absolute last chance as the Browns' starting QB. It is, however, his first chance against a subpar defense. I'm going out on a limb and predicting he blows up and keeps the job.

Jon Kitna -- He sprained his knee after a really lackluster day against the Niners' defense. Zero TDs to Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson is not good.

Jonathan Stewart -- His value was sky-high after week two. Then he faced up against a stellar run defense in Minnesota. If you catch an owner of Stewart's that lacks foresight, trade for him now. He proved his value in the second half against the Bears ... and they face the stop-the-run challenged Falcons this week at home. He's gonna go nuts.

Brandon Jacobs -- Other than the touchdown, that was a pathetic effort against the Bengals at home Sunday.

Plaxico Burress -- Just when you think you can count him as a top five option, he pulls a disappearing act.

Bryant Johnson -- Someone on Sunday Morning Tailgate called me a homer because I recommended Marvin Harrison over Johnson ... which was weird since I'm a Bears fan. Either way, scoreboard. Three points against the Lions defense? That's a precursor for a season of unpredictable fluctuation. Not fun for Johnson's owners.

Andre Johnson -- The Texans are probably going to be a bit unpredictable all season following the destruction of Hurricane Ike in their hometown. That being said, you have to assume last Sunday will be one of Johnson's least productive of the season.

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