Week 11 is here and it’s time to start positioning yourself for the fantasy playoffs, which are mere weeks away for most leagues. Positioning is not limited to combing the ‘Wire. Rather, positioning entails an unflinching assessment of your roster compared to those lineups you’re likely to face in the 2nd season. Do you have three elite running backs but poor performances have left you receiver weak? Deal a second-tier running back for a highly productive wideout. Trading a top-12 running back for an elite pass catcher is generally considered poor strategy. However, if the move is going to net you a White, Sims-Walker or Colston, a weekly point-stacker? Then moving Joseph Addai or Pierre Thomas will bolster your roster as opposed to hamstringing you.
Josh Freeman: Green Bay (Week 9) allowed Freeman (205/3) to play catch with his pass catchers during his first pro start, but the sledding became more challenging against the feisty ‘Phins this past weekend (196/1/1 with a fumble). With a porous Saint secondary on Tampa’s docket this week, Freeman constitutes a high risk to high reward QB2.
Vince Young: VY is proving his detractors wrong, and there are plenty of detractors. This past week Young (210/1/1) was over center when the Titans took the admittedly hapless Bills to the woodshed for a good old-fashioned thrashing. RB Chris Johnson was the catalyst for the whupping, but Young’s mobility and arm-strength keep opposing secondaries honest. In WR Nate Washington, Young has discovered a reliable and speedy target and that seems to be a relationship that will continue to prove productive. RB Chris Johnson’s ability to take a 10-yard dump-off pass an additional 20 yards will help inflate Young’s weekly yardage totals.
Marc Bulger: Unlike Viking QB Brett Favre, Ram QB Marc Bulger is not receiving Oil of Olay via IV drip. Still, Bulger (298/1/2) had his best game of the season against the Saints last week and Arizona is lined up for this week’s tilt. I don’t expect the Ram offensive line to suddenly gel and sing “Kumbaya” between downs, nor do I expect Donnie Avery or Danny Amendola to turn into “Son of Greatest Show on Turf.” It’s unfortunate that the Rams can’t play themselves as Bulger would have a huge day against his own Secondary.
Justin Forsett: I listed Forsett three weeks ago and stated that, compared to Julius Jones, he would start to emerge as a more dynamic playmaker. Forsett blew the Cardinal Run D up this past week, piling up 123 rushing yards and a touch’ on just 17 carries. Dude has proven me correct, and I like him moving forward. Week 11 is tough as Seattle clashes with the stout Minnesota run D, but if ‘Hawk QB Matt Hasselbeck can move the ball against the Vikings’ injury-depleted secondary, Forsett will see the short-yardage work. Look for Forsett to bank something approximating 70/1 this weekend. Goin’ out on a thin limb here!
Jason Snelling: An injury fill-in for Atlanta Falcon stud Michael Turner. Should Turner miss more than a week with his bum ankle, and if the injury is indeed a high ankle sprain, then Snelling’s value increases substantially. You could be eyeballing a low-end RB2.
Jamaal Charles: Another back who has been listed in this column previously, Charles rang-up 103/1 on the team that has put the “fun” back in “dysfunction,” Oakland! To no great surprise, the Chiefs finally bid veteran Larry Johnson a not-so-fond bon voyage and the door is ajar for Charles. Finally embarking upon the path to feature-dom (is that a word? I think I created a Roto sniglet), Charles has an awful Week 11 tilt against the sturdy Steelers but the going gets easier after that, and the versatile Jamaal Charles has appreciable value.
Bernard Scott: Scott’s a rookie running back that some owners have targeted but that I’m urging you to be wary of. Veteran Cedric Benson suffered an abductor muscle pull just seven carries into the Week 10 game against Pittsburgh and the stud Bengal back is now bench-meat for at least a week. And, while Bernard Scott stepped in and did himself proud (54 yards on 14 touches and a 96 yard Kick-off return), Cin’ City just couldn’t avoid a season without controversy.
“Things are too quiet around here” front-office employee #1 said. “Yes,” replied front-office employee #2, “we need … what DO we need, we need a trouble-maker! We haven’t had a malcontent since last year and things are going just too smoothly!” Well fret not, for smooth Cin’ City waters have become suddenly muddied with the signing of former Kansas City RB Larry Johnson. The Chief troublemaker now becomes Benson’s handcuff and, while Scott has great speed and real talent, he’s not a rabble-rouser and LJ is. In all seriousness, however, at this point Johnson has more value than Bernard Scott, and if I were looking to add a skill position player from an offense that has all the components in place for a playoff run… it’d have to be Larry Johnson. LJ can still punch it in from 3 yards out and will be motivated to prove that, although he’s on the wrong side of 30, he’s still got game.
Beanie Wells: Still available in many leagues (19% on average), Wells (16/85/2 with 2 grabs for another 32 yards Sunday) is clearly the future feature. Currently, the time-share between the Wells and Hightower is almost even, but Beanie is the more explosive of the two Card’ backs. Wells is still learning while Hightower has a year of experience under his belt and that matters. for this season, anyway. Head coach Ken Wisenhunt clearly prefers Hightower for short-yardage and goal-line duties, while Beanie’s number is called when outside the 10’s. Hightower runs with ample power but couldn’t avoid a would-be tackler if he received a text-message first. Meanwhile, Wells can go the distance any time he touches the ball. Look for the split to remain 50/50 to 60/40 for the remainder of the season, but Beanie Wells is a back to target for those belonging to keeper leagues. Oh, and this just in: the Cardinals draw St. Louis this week, Detroit Week 15 (Playoff round for many leagues) and St. Louis again for Week 16 (Championship Week for many leagues). Dude’s Roto-tasty!
Robert Meachem: Saint slinger Drew Brees certainly has a bevvy of vetted pass-cacthers at his disposal; Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Meachem, TE Jeremy Shockey and scat-back Reggie Bush, who’s beginning to hit his stride. On paper, you’d be hard-pressed to list a deeper stable of receivers. But somehow, Meachem has managed to make himself fantasy relevant in three of New Orleans’ past five games, including TDs in two straight now. Versatile and a load to tackle at 6-2/215, Meachem and the rest of the Saints face the clueless Tampa Bay D this coming week.
Donnie Avery: Avery hauled in just 4 passes for 67 yards in the loss to New Orleans Sunday, but two of those receptions resulted in TDs. I could care less that the St. Louis Rams lost Sunday. In fact, the more points the team is losing by, the greater Avery’s value. As talented as Ram RB Steven Jackson is, the team isn’t going to stick the ball in his gut 15 times over the span of the second Half if they’re down by 17. So lose Rams, lose. Towards that end, enter WR Donnie Avery, whose name you may be familiar with (however distantly). Here’s another way to gauge Avery’s name recognition. Ready? Ruvell Martin and Danny Amendola. The former receivers are listed as 1 and 3 on the St. Louis Ram depth chart and the only other pass catcher whose name might ring a bell with the more casual fan is aging TE Randy McMichael. St. Losing QB Marc Bulger is coming off his best game of the season (298/1/2), and while I wouldn’t look for him to recapture the form that saw him snare a Pro Bowl MVP award back in ‘04, optimists will be, um, optimistic about his ability to be semi-productive over the final third of the NFL season.
Steve Breaston: Whatever Brett Favre and Card’ QB Kurt Warner are taking, I’m willing to bathe in it. Put some into my breakfast cereal — pour some into my gaping mouth. Warner surmounted his mid-season hurdle and is coming off two straight great games. How great? Over his last two, Warner has amassed 601 yards and 7 TDs. Warner hasn’t thrown an INT since the Panthers went a’picking with five during their Week 8 matchup. St. Louis, Tennessee, Minny, Detroit, St. Louis again… could the slate be any more appealing? By the time the season concludes, Warner, currently sitting on 19 TDs, could rack up 40+ passing scores.
Hakeem Nicks: Mentioned in prior columns, Nicks continues to carve a niche for himself in a Big Blue offense that is still struggling to find its identity.
Jeremy Maclin: Another quarterback with a playbook stuffed full of pass-catching options, Donovan McNabb is starting to look Maclin’s way. WR DeSean Jackson attracts most of the attention, and TE Brent Celek is finally starting to garner notice, leaving Maclin in single coverage. Maclin has speed, hops and hands, all of which were on display this past week against the San Diego D (6/76/1). Look for Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy to play increasingly larger roles.
I'm the Head of Youth Services for the Edgewater Free Public Library; I place great value on education and literacy... hell, I proof-read everything. Ever proof a Chinese Food Take-Out menu? I do, great for a laugh. Anyway- A long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan... I harbor hopes, however slender, that my beloved Vikes' will claim a SuperBowl trophy during my lifetime.
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