Bodyguards. Plural. The Cowboys were clearly worried about Pacman's behavior. Imagine your employer being so concerned about your character that they hire goons to trail you 24-7 to make sure you don't jump on car hoods screaming "I am the Lizard King!" or end up shirtless, sweaty, methed-up, dragged out of your truck and wrestled to the ground by six deputies on "Cops." Then again, this would officially make you the office bad boy and get Brenda in Accounts Payable to finally notice you, so, well, that'd be a bonus.
Speaking of idiots, that's exactly what I was called this week via email. A reader named "MrChip," responding under the heroic cloak of Internet anonymity to my political-themed intro last week, wrote: "You sound like an idiot. Please stop commenting on something you know nothing about." Chipster, I couldn't agree more. My wife calls me an idiot twice a week. And I can certainly sympathize with your frustration at not receiving the serious, erudite political insight and commentary you expect from your fantasy football web sites. Coincidentally, I heard readers over at HuffingtonPost.com were livid when Lawrence O'Donnell devoted 7,300 words to Kolby Smith vs. Jamaal Charles.
But half the fun for me is getting reader emails, so keep 'em coming. I always write back, whether it's a start-bench question - Dave King, you owe me a beer after I recommended Buckhalter over McGahee -- or a question about writing in general (yes, I'll gladly share so-called "insight" with would-be writers; no, I won't proofread your 500,000-word futuristic sci-fi robot/erotica novel). I'll even respond if you call me bad names, sometimes without using insults of my own . . . sometimes. Now if you'll excuse me, MrChip and I have to go interview "Joe the Plumber" for next week's column.
Thomas Jones: TJ had three TDs last week (two rushing, one receiving) and rest of season faces one of the easier rushing schedules in the NFL, with KC (#32), STL (#30), DEN #(26), SEA (#23), SF (#22), NE (#21), OAK (#19) and a diminishing BUF rush defense (#18) twice. If you're heading toward the playoffs, watch Jones run wild on OAK and KC next two weeks, then use him as bait to snag a Joseph Addai (#28 CIN and #31 DET in playoff Weeks 15 & 16), MJD (#27 GB and #29 IND in Weeks 15 & 16) or Ronnie Brown (SF and KC in Weeks 15 & 16), or in a package to upgrade at QB or WR.
Drew Brees: With Romo down and Cutler having a relatively off week (192 yards, 2 TDs, pick), Brees has cemented his place atop the fantasy QB heap. You might try a "Warner/McNabb/Rivers/Rodgers and a good RB/WR" offer to the Brees owner if that guy/gal has RB or WR problems, but with QB's falling faster than Mark Chmura into a hot tub full of Girl Scouts - Hey-ohh! Oldie but a goodie! -- Brees owners are holding tight.
Steve Slaton Faces Detroit this weekend, and even with Ahman Green stealing ten or so carries (while he's healthy), Slaton has become a weekly RB2. Odd that they're not throwing to him more after he's proven to be a reliable target out of the backfield, but unless you're packaging him for a stud (MBIII, Portis, AP, Gore, Jacobs) hold on and enjoy the ride. Other than MIN and BAL he's got some easy remaining games. And it's a bonus that his name sounds like a '70's cop show: Robert Conrad is . . . "Steve Slaton, Private Investigator"
Brad Johnson: Sounds like Romo might be back sooner than the initial four weeks, but still, Johnson goes from "some guy who probably always wears smart slacks, penny loafers and a Polo shirt to Applebees" to "some guy who'll be flipping dump-offs to Jason Witten or Marion Barber and/or hitting T.O. or Roy with 4-yard slants and watching them take it 68-yards to the house." In other words, his efficient veteran ways and Pro-Bowl cast makes him a solid emergency starter for the next couple weeks (especially against the Rams) and he makes a great trade sweetener if you want to deal with the Romo owner. And if your league awards points for checkdowns? Yahtzee!
Dominic Rhodes: Will start for an ever-improving Colts offense for the next couple weeks, and gets a declining Pack rush D on Sunday. But don't go selling Addai for pennies on the dollar quite yet: The aging Rhodes is a stopgap at best, gets TEN, NE and PIT after GB, and then, presumably, Addai gets back (might be sooner than four weeks) for the easy part from Week 11 on: HOU, SD, CLE, CIN, DET, JAX. So if you own Rhodes and are set at RB, dangle him to the Addai owner. And if you own Addai, see what the Rhodes owner needs -- assuming it's not RBs -- and trade for the handcuff. You get the idea.
MJD: For the second straight week, even on a bye, MJD keeps rising. He's coming off his first big game of the year. Fred Taylor is woozy. And, best of all, he faces perhaps the easiest rush schedule between now and Week 14: CLE, CIN, DET, and HOU (mixed in with tough #4 MIN and #13 TEN). If you acted on my advice last week and bought MJD relatively low before his 125 yard/2 TD game, congrats. If not, your window may have closed. I know - I just offered Dominic Rhodes & Calvin Johnson for MJD to a severely WR-starved Addai owner (lost Boldin, has been starting Holt and Bryant Johnson) who is also starting Kevin Faulk at RB this week, and even he didn't bite.
Derek Anderson/Braylon Edwards: Yes, the Fantasy Gods finally lubed up the defibrillator paddles and whacked the flat lined Brownies air show a few times. But these guys are both sell high in my book, because six of their final ten games are against the league's top pass defenses, including BUF in Week 11 and a brutal stretch of IND, TEN, PHI, and surprisingly tough CIN (4th lowest pass yards against) in Weeks 13, 14, 15 and 16. So I'd hope they light up WAS and JAX in Weeks 7 and 8 and then sell them before the BAL game in Week 9.
Philip Rivers: Torched the Pop Warner-ish secondary that is the Patriots. Woo hoo. But if he has another multi-TD day against tougher Buffalo (#8 vs. pass, 3rd fewest pass TDs against), he'll lock himself into indisputable weekly stud status, and then gets the Saints and Chiefs (after a bye week) to add to his tied-for-league-leading 14 TDs. Right up there with Romo, McNabb and Rodgers, production-wise, but he might be had more cheaply because he just doesn't have the same name value. And if you can survive his two tough games against PIT in Week 11 and IND in Week 12, he's got a nice stretch of ATL, OAK, KC in Weeks 13, 14 and 15 to help get you to your league finals.
The new Nike "Fate" commercial featuring LT and Troy Polamalu: LT owners can only wish the grown-up LT ran like the little dude playing him as a toddler.
Marques Colston: Should return this weekend and his owner, if that's not you, is no doubt expecting a rest-of-season explosion. After CAR, every team the Saints face rank in the bottom half in the league in fantasy points through the air (including a sweet playoff run of ATL, CHI and DET), so he'll be difficult to acquire. But if a league mate has WR depth and fears Colston's injury woes, make a run at him, but be prepared to pay.
Randy Moss: What a difference a week makes. Cassel -- I'll write more on him later once I can stop dry heaving -- makes Bledsoe look as elusive as Tarkenton. And he's either under- or over-throwing a "once again uninterested-looking" Moss when he's not dinking and dunking to Wes Welker (who's value has upticked a bit). After last week's horror show in SD, you won't get respectable value for Moss right now so you're best off standing pat vs. selling low out of frustration.
Torry Holt: One bad game, we can overlook. Three? OK, we're getting worried. Five out of six? A definite trend. You can't outright drop him unless you play in a 6-team league with your nephew, his three elementary school pals and a potted Hibiscus plant. But right now Holt's only worthy of being a "throw-in" in a deal to a team that might need some deep WR help. If you're trying to deal him, play up the relatively easy secondaries he faces the next five games - DAL (starting rookies and cast-offs in the secondary), @ NE, ARI, NYJ, SF - without, um, mentioning that the Cards, Jets, Cowboys and Niners are top 10 in sacks (look out, Bulger!).
Ryan Grant: 20-20 hindsight and all, but Grant was one guy I avoided in every draft. "Insulting" $1.75 million signing bonus + limited training camp + bad hammy + post-career year expectations = wayyyy over-valued in August. Now, I have him as just plain low valued . . . but not buy low. Yes, the OL has been hurt and ineffective, but (A) he's not breaking tackles the way he did last year, (B) he often just lowers his skull and barrels into his blockers versus running and cutting with his 2007 vision, and (C) is usually replaced in 3rd down and two-minute situations. Some think he'll trounce a weak Colts rush D this weekend and thrive once the Pack's schedule lightens up a bit, but I refuse to lift the "one-year wonder" tag. Watch him get 90 yards or so and a TD against the Colts and then deal him while people still remember his end-of-season rampage last year.
Jon Kitna: Anyone else picture Kitna throwing medicines balls around, boxing kangaroos and doing squat thrusts while yelling "Look, my back's fine! Seriously! Watch, I'll bench press Ed Mulitalo!" and the Lions brass just clamping their hands over their ears and going "NA NA NA NA NA NA NA!"? Kitna's done in Detroit and I doubt even teams with the lowliest QB situations (cough, Chiefs/Seahawks/Ravens/Raiders, cough) will call for next year.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh: You know when you go into a unisex bathroom at a restaurant or bar, and the guy before you peed all over the toilet seat, apparently gutted, cleaned and dressed a skunk and generally wracked havoc? But you now have to clean it up or else the hot girl in line behind you will think that you destroyed the place? That's how Fitzpatrick must feel taking over for the 0-6 Bengals. He also must get an electric dog collar shock every time he attempts a pass longer than five yards. His arm, his scrambling feet, and Carson's elbow all spell bad news for Housh and his Latino pal, Ocho Cinco.
Matt Cassel: The rationale for Cassel's never having started was always "Because he had Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart in front of him at USC, and Brady in New England." But maybe it should have been, "Because he's just gawd-awful." Belichick reiterated that Cassel is still his starter, despite the generally crap-tastic play. The last vote of confidence so uninspiring was Henry the VIII saying, "My subjects, I'm totally into Anne Boleyn and am not in any way thinking of beheading her. At all. No, really -- stop snickering. I rather enjoy seeing her head attached to her torso. Love that head. Would never want to see it rolling around in a dirty cabbage basket under a guillotine." Some blame goes to the O-Line for Cassel's 19 sacks in only seven games - Brady had 21 all last season -- but even the glacial Bledsoe would at least still be looking downfield and trying to make a play while being manhandled, versus tucking into the fetal position and shrieking. Amazing that Chad Pennington now has more fantasy value than a Pats quarterback.
Tony Gonzalez: Not so much due to his play but to his whining about not being traded. Apparently he could have gone to Buffalo for a 3rd-rounder but vetoed that because he didn't want to play in a small market. Hey, after playing on the giant worldwide media stage that is Kansas City, who can blame him? That said, this negative vibe-age swirling around Gonzo right now -- along with the Chiefs putrid passing offense -- could let you poach him from his owner for less than normal Gonzo value.
Rotoworld reader Natalie Kistner Back to reader emails. Natalie emailed a couple weeks ago to say that "women are joining leagues in larger and larger numbers nationwide, some of them doing quite well. Take myself for instance. I [won] my 18-team league and not, might I add, from sheer luck but from my knowledge of the game, a lot of time spent doing research, and maybe a bit of luck here and there. So while I get the idea of a 'man-crush' index, I was hoping you could at least acknowledge us lady owners out there in some way."
While the Devil on my shoulder says I should start an official Rotoworld "Hot or Not: The Fantasy Football Chick" photo contest, the Angel says, Point taken -- there are indeed millions of women playing fantasy football now, many of them, like Natalie, kicking male asses in leagues nationwide. And that's why I'm putting Natalie in the "Fallers" category. Not for her email - it was great -- but for her sober reminder to us Y-chromosomers that fantasy football, a fortress of solitiude we used to rule with an iron fist, will soon be dominated by women. Thus forcing us into CBS sitcom-esque "fat guy inexplicably married to disproportionately hot wife" subjugation. I call dibs on Jami Gertz!