SleepersDecember 17, 2008

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Sleeper Watch

By Emmit Visconti

It’s week 16 and to an NFL player, the postseason is just around the corner, but to fantasy owners, it’s already here. In the fantasy world, week 16 is when champions are made. Chances are, if you haven’t been eliminated already, you have a pretty solid team. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use a little help from the waiver wire. After all, a skilled fantasy owner is always looking for a way to get an edge over his opponent. Here are a few guys that may be able to help you out when you need it the most.

Speaking of help, the New Orleans Saints needed some on Sunday after a disappointing 24-27 loss to the Chicago Bears in overtime. The heartbreaking end to the Saint’s season certainly wasn’t the fault of their second year running back, Pierre Thomas. Thomas, who has been seeing more action recently due to injuries to Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, and Aaron Stecker, has quietly flourished and found success as a focal point in the Saint’s offense. Last week, he scored two touchdowns, one on a 2 yard pass from Drew Brees and another on a 42 yard run in which he caused a collision between two pursuing defenders. He finished the game with 144 total yards on 22 carries and 7 receptions. This week it looks as though Reggie Bush will not start against Detroit due to a knee injury that has been plaguing him since October. That’s good news for Thomas, as he will have the opportunity to rip through the Lion’s last-ranked run defense as the uncontested starter. On their quest for imperfection, the Lion’s have given up an average of 168 rushing yards per game and opposing running backs are averaging nearly 5 yards per attempt. Thomas’ fortunate combination of an injury-granted opportunity and a favorable matchup make him an important addition to any fantasy owner’s roster.

Another running back that may be of service to you this week is Sammy Morris, who rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries last week. Morris received the starting job on his team a few weeks ago due to an injury to Laurence Maroney and he has excelled ever since. Morris is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has scored 7 touchdowns this season. I fully expect this to continue against the Arizona Cardinals this week. The Cardinals have the 14th ranked run defense and are giving up 4 yards per carry this season. This past Sunday, the Vikings trampled the Cardinals for 239 yards. Morris and the Patriots are in a must-win situation this week as they are in a three way tie with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets in the AFC East. This added motivation coupled with an excellent matchup should translate to a big week for Morris on the ground.

If you are in need of a defense, the Miami Dolphins have looked as good as any other defense in the past three weeks, as they haven’t allowed a touchdown since week 12. The Dolphins play the Kansas City Chiefs, who possess the NFL’s 26th ranked offense, so I fully expect the streak of not allowing a touchdown to continue. The Dolphins rank 8th in the NFL in sacks and they added 5 to their total last week against the 49ers. While the Dolphins need to win to keep their playoffs hopes alive, the (2-12) Chiefs have dug themselves deep in the hole of insignificance. The Dolphins are in a must win situation this week if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs. With this added motivation and a favorable matchup, the Dolphins defense should be an excellent option to pick up and play.

Emmit Visconti is a full time student and part time funny man. You can catch up with Emmit with the celebrities in Los Angeles or in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Wanguin.
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