I'm exhausted. Lost tons of sleep over benching Felix Jones last weekend, which cost me a win. Is anyone not named Tim Hightower doing more with fewer carries this season than Jones? More yards than Jamal Lewis, Joseph Addai and Reggie Bush, with about a third of their carries. He's like the '05 Bus, except Felix's "goal line carries" are from about 50 yards out and he doesn't have a Shirley Hemphill-sized ass.
I'm also still tired from watching that Presidential debate and trying to determine what either candidate actually said. Something about someone's children being the future, I think? And I'm not sure who even won - the old Johnny Carson-looking white dude who kept calling us his "friends" or the dignified, younger African-American man who may or may not have been Tony Dungy.
That's why I don't offer political advice. Mainly because I'm the lunatic who thinks that we, as free, democratic Americans who, thankfully, don't get beaten with lead pipes on our way to voting booths, should be able to vote for Obama and McCain. Yes -- Co-Presidents! Wouldn't that be best?
Screw the two-party system, which stopped being relevant and serving the public good right around when Washington was wrapping up his first inaugural address. Why can't we just elect the two most qualified human beings -- Obama and McCain -- instead of settling for only one of the best and some other schlump whose own party didn't think he/she was worthy? Hell, they made McNair and Manning Co-MVPs in 2004, didn't they? This "President Obamacain" plan of mine could really work! Ebony and ivory! We are the world! Then again, what do I know? For most of the debate I thought that second old white dude moderating the debate was Hillary Clinton.
Anyway, my friends, as political fortunes rise and fall, so, too, do fantasy values . . .
Adrian Peterson: A riser? After being held to 32 yards on 21 carries? Yup. People, he faces the Lions this weekend, who are giving up the most RB fantasy points in football. That, combined with the Saints' "utter backfield destruction at all costs" defensive game plan last Monday night, which certainly contributed to his woes, makes him a prime buy (relatively) low right now. So try to poach him from an owner who, perhaps because he/she has been held hostage in a botched bank job and hasn't had Internet access, doesn't know AP faces Detroit on Sunday.
Kyle Orton Whenever a fantasy writer mentions that Kyle Orton has been one of fantasy football's top QB's over the past few weeks, he/she is obligated by Federal law (under punishment of lethal injection) to precede that statement with these words: "I can't believe I'm writing this, but." So, here goes: I can't believe I'm writing this, but Kyle Orton has been one of fantasy football's top QB's over the past few weeks. Seven TDs in his past three games, averaging 267 yards per. And he faces Atlanta this weekend, which should keep the streak alive. Don't get cocky and trade Cutler, but if you snagged Orton off waivers and have a stud you'd likely never sit for Orton (Cutler/Romo/Brees, maybe Warner/McNabb/Rodgers?), see what the QB-starved teams in your league might give up for the Bears signal caller.
Randy Moss: Hadn't been on the radar since Week 1 but broke out against the Niners with 5 catches/111 yards/TD. And - jinx alert! - he's healthy as a horse, playing in 78 of 81 offensive snaps, most of them in situations where he thrives, i.e. The Pats tried to hit him in space where he can motor after the catch. Oh, and he was blocking his ass off on run plays and for his fellow wideouts. Translation? We have the motivated, positive Moss again, folks. And, in their next six games, the Pats face four of the league's worst pass D's - SD (32), DEN (30), STL (28) and NYJ (31). The opportunity to buy low might be waning, but try the "his big game was a fluke; all his points came on one big play when a defender slipped; it was the Niners!" pitch to his owner and see what happens.
Kristen Wiig: Not only the best SNL female talent since Gilda Radner, but arguably the best SNL talent - male or female -- since Will Ferrell. And if you disagree, (A) YouTube the "Lawrence Welk" skit, and (B) shut down your computer and go stand in a corner, because you are clearly an insane person who should be in a padded cell sans Internet access.
The Wildcat: No, this isn't another slang term for a sexy older woman who preys on younger men, a la "Cougar." It's the name of the "direct snap-to-the-running back-playing-quarterback" formation on which Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins have feasted lately. And it's part of the reason why Brown's value is approaching last early season, when he was fantasy's top back (in fact, combining his starts to last season, pre-injury, and this one, no RB has scored more TDs than Brown.and as Gleeman pointed out today, he's rushed for 10 yards in six of his last eight full games.). Ronnie's the centerpiece of the offense, and, if anything, Ricky's presence is keeping him healthier. Jury's out on the other Boyz II Men, Bobby and Mike.
Steve Slaton Visions of Domanick Davis'/Williams' stud days in Houston abound. He's become a legit weekly RB2/Flex, but has the improving Dolphins rush defense this weekend, and the ghoulish, limping creature formerly known as Ahman Green could steal a few touches moving forward.so if you have solid RB depth, package him with a good/name WR (e.g. Hines Ward? Torry Holt?) for a great WR (Marshall, Owens, Wayne?). Or if you have solid WR depth, package him with a WR for an even better RB (e.g. Slaton & Holt for Frank Gore? Not saying the other owner will go for it, but not an insulting offer).
Michael Pittman I got a good email today from a reader named Steve. He wrote: "You should write an article about running an NFL team like a Fantasy Football team. Imagine what would happen to league if Denver traded for Steven Jackson. Couple him with Cutler and Marshall for the next 5-7 years, how many rings are won in the Rockies? A Fantasy Football owner would make that deal in a keeper league....why doesn't Shanahan?" My response: "Good point, Steve. A good fantasy owner who's looking playoff-bound in a keeper league should be poaching the rosters of the league doormats by now, seeing who's playing for this year vs. who's giving up and re-building.
Thing is, though, the owner who's rebuilding would want some good, young 'cornerstone' talent in return, and in your Denver example, that ain't Selvin Young or Darrell Jackson. Simplest answer, though, is this: Because Shanahan is the devil. That's the answer for all the questions regarding Mike Shanahan. Why does he torture us with RBBC? Because he's the devil. Why is there pain, suffering, war, famine, disease and John Mayer in this world? Because Mike Shanahan is the devil." Long story short, re: Pittman, this should remind you that it's RBBC as always under Satan-ahan, and Andre Hall could see some work. And Ryan Torain's impending return could muddy the waters even more. But Pittman is emerging as the guy you want short-term in the wake of Selvin's groin injury. He gets all the goal line carries anyway. If you have him and have nice RB depth, throw him out to the Young owner and see if he/she bites.
Sammy Morris While Maroney's running like a fragile porcelain mouse - more on that later - Morris is doing just the opposite: hitting the line with purpose, bashing through and getting two yards when the Pats need one, and so on. Belichick may have given Maroney the dreaded vote of confidence after the NIners game - but he might as well have been DeNiro directing Loraine Bracco into the alley for a new coat. Right now, Morris is the RB you want in the Pats backfield, especially with LaMont Jordan injuring his ankle last week.
Bernard Berrian:Sidney Rice is banged up. Berrian appears healthy and is hooking up with Frerotte deep. This is what Childress, and fantasy owners, have waited for. Oh, and because Berrian wears the same purple Nordic-themed uniform as Adrian Peterson, he also plays the Lions this weekend. Liftoff.
Darren McFadden This year's AP? More like this year's Cedric Benson, minus the Hennigans and pontoon boat. Turf toe and rookie RBs - hell, any RBs -- don't mix. Pimp his big name and see what the Fargas owner will give you, 'cause he'll be a headache all season.
Anthony Gonzalez I promised that there'd be no math involved with this column, but Little Gonzo's problems come down to a simple formula: Gonzo + Marvin + C2 (Clark & Concussion-ish head) = decreased value. Only hope right now is that BAL stuffs Addai so much that slants/short routes become Indy's bread and butter. Or that Marvin and Peyton keep up their lovers' spats on the sidelines. But for keeper leagues, he'll be money in '09 when Marvin's likely done.
Marion Barber After starting strong in his first three games, Barber has cooled the past two weeks while Felix Jones stole his Thunder against the Bengals. But make no mistake, Barber is the man there, so now might be a good time to poach him while his value is slightly down by lobbing an "Uh-oh, looks like Felix is taking over" grenade of doubt into the MBIII owner's camp.
Lawrence Phillips: Three amusing things about Phillips' recent conviction. 1) He was playing a pickup football game against teenagers; 2) He's a former #6 overall NFL pick yet somehow didn't play well enough for his team to win - insert Norm MacDonald's voice -- a pickup football game against teenagers!; 3) He couldn't beat up some teens with his fists, so he used a car. The highly un-amusing thing? Phillips ruined the potential football career of one of the teens whose leg he injured in the attack. Hey, we all get mad when we feel "disrespected," but few of us "act out in a blind rage," let alone do so with moving vehicles. Enjoy the prison showers, Lawrence. You've earned it.
Laurence Maroney On a key third down play last Sunday, Maroney took a handoff, broke left and headed toward the sideline with daylight ahead of him. Easy first down? Nope. With a defender barreling towards him, but plenty of room to gain the first and then wimp out, he pulled up a yard short and ran out of bounds like a roach scurrying under the sink when the lights come on. And to think we Pats fans were gloating when we "stole" Maroney from Indy.
Roy Williams: Sorry, folks, he's not going to Dallas (you think Jerry Jones wants another volatile, catch-hungry wideout to send T.O. into a whining, locker room-nuking rant?). And the Lions aren't getting two 1st-rounders for him, which former GM/current Arby's assistant nighttime drive-thru manager, Matt Millen, wanted. So Roy will stay in Detroit, and he'll continue to see wobbly passes from either an injured Kitna or an untested Dan Orlovsky. His only possible saving grace? Orlovsky looked to him early and often after Kitna went down. Might be a trend. Speaking of Lions WRs (or ex-Lions WRs) . . .
. . . Charles Rogers Those FreeCreditReport.com commercials -- starring that guitar-playing hipster with the strategically mussed-up hair and punching bag face who sings about his humorous credit woes -- send me into a Phillips-esque blind rage. But whenever Chuck Rogers wakes up from his bong-induced Grand Theft Auto IV marathon, he might want to give them or some other credit bureau a shout to discuss debt consolidation. After all, he now owes the Lions $8.5 million bucks. More than a few student loan payments.
MJD: The former Fantasy Hall of Famer has fallen on hard times. An ankle that doesn't want to remain un-sprained and an O-line that isn't opening any holes. That said, he's got a nice schedule coming up (DEN, CLE, CIN, DET) and might be had relatively cheaply. Would I offer Steve Slaton or another recent riser for him? In a heartbeat. Do I hate when writers ask themselves questions and then answer them because they think it makes them sound more inquisitive? Yes.
LT: He's put his owners in a tough spot: you can't let a league mate vulture LT low, but you also can't get "healthy LT" value in a trade, either. So I think you're better off holding.or, if you don't have LT, are sitting at 1-5 and need to roll the dice on a high risk/high reward player to get back in the race, dangle a trendy, productive-but-unproven RB (Matt Forte? Chris Johnson? Slaton?) and a WR QB and see if you can pry LT away from a worried owner. That said, I think that toe is killin' him - he used to fly over lineman at the goal line, now he just squeals like a wee lass and falls down -- and 5 fear this will be a lost season, overall, for the once unquestioned fantasy stud.
LJ: A third set of initials and one of the MCI's favorite whipping boy, LJ was a "sell high" here last week after he feasted on lame defenses the previous two weeks. Did you unload him before his mathematically impossible 7 carry/2 yard performance? No? Then you must suffer the consequences: I will be mailing you a DVD of "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," coming to your house and forcing you at gunpoint to watch it seven straight times.
Good luck this week, my friends. Remember, as one of those nominees said, "change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time." So get out there and make some trades to ensure a better, stronger fantasy football future - not just for you, but for the children.