Saturday, December 6

Da Games: Early Sundayers

In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup. Wow. (A one word lead! I'm Matthew Berry!) Perusing the internet I was and I came upon an interesting document from Neilsen, those ratings guys who have little leprechaun spies in your TV that know what programs your watching. (Bro-hug to Awful Announcing.) It says that 75 Million people visited sports websites in October. It also says that 11.6 million unique users logged more than 1.2 billion minutes on fantasy sports sites in 2008. 1.2 Billion minutes. With a B. And an illion. But FF Writers With Hair is getting only like 450 visits a month. With no illion. Not even an ousand. Just undred. That's a joke. Side note: We recently got a visit from somewhere in the District of Columbia. Bush? Condy? Me thinks we have powerful friends in high places. Or average blow White House workers just use their free time to set their lineups instead of keeping the President from getting sniped. Both the former and the latter would be pretty darn sick.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears
Fantasy Impact Players QB Kyle Orton, David Garrard RB— Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor WR— Matt Jones, Devin Hester TE— none Key Stat 1— Since 1988, Chicago has scored more than 23.4 points per game (their average this year) just once, in 2006, and since entering the league in 1995, Jacksonville has given up more than 22.5 points per game just once, in '95. Our Take Tosten Burks— Matt Jones should never be the best wide receiver in a professional football game. Goodness. This will be a matchup dominated by the run on both sides. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see Orton get back in the groove this Sunday. Zach Fein— Jacksonville's been downright terrible this year. You saw what Steve Slaton did against them; look for Matt Forte to do the same. Alex KozoraMJD's strength has been touchdowns this year ... only touchdowns. I still label him as a risky play. Kyle Orton has struggled lately, but Matt Forte is a great start. The Jags defense is playing nowhere near the level it was last season.
Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub RB— Steve Slaton, Ryan Grant WR— Andre Johnson, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Kevin Walter TE— Owen Daniels, Donald Lee Key Stat 3.25— The Packers have outscored opponents by 3.25 points per game, yet are two games under .500. Since 1994, no team under .500 has had a higher scoring margin than Green Bay this year. Our Take Tosten Burks— Last weekend, Gary Kubiak lamented about not using Slaton enough in the first half. Then he gave the ball to him 2093 times in the second half. And then he raved after the game about how mature Slaton is. I'm thinking about going back and switching my mancrush. Expect huge numbers from the rookie. Zach Fein— As noted in the key stat, the Packers have been considerably unlucky this year. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-teens, so a low-scoring, old-school football game with little passing should be the final outcome. Alex KozoraMatt Schaub returns, but expect him to be rusty. Don't think about benching Andre Johnson though. Not much to note for Green Bay; Rodgers, Jennings, and Grant are all good plays.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Fantasy Impact Players QB— none, don't give me Culpepper and Gus Bus, get that outta here RB— Adrian Peterson, Kevin Smith WR— Calvin Johnson, Bernard Berrian TE— Visanthe Shiancoe Key Stat 0— The Detroit Lions have zero wins this year. Wait, you already knew that? Our Take Tosten Burks— Not going to lie, I have no idea if the Vikings D-linemen who tested positive for the banned substance in the StarCaps pills are going to play against Detroit. If someone knows, hit up the webmail, If they do, Calvin Johnson is the only Lion worth starting. If they don't, Kevin Smith is a top-eight running back. [Ed's note: Yes, Kevin and Pat Williams are playing.] Zach Fein— If the Williams duo was out this week, I would pick the Lions to win their first game this year. They're not, so the Vikes should pull out the win in the final minutes of the game. Start everyone for Minnesota. Calvin Johnson is a top-five wideout, and Kevin Smith is still a flex play this week, in my opinion, even with the Williamses playing. Alex KozoraAnother easy call. With Kevin and Pat Williams expected to play, I would look at other options than Kevin Smith if you're in need of a running back to start. You could start Calvin Johnson on his pure talent, but I don't expect any Lion to have a good game. Peterson owners have been waiting for this day since ... well, the last time the Vikings played the Lions.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Peyton Manning RB— Joseph Addai, Cedric Benson WR— Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Chad Ocho Cinco TE— Dallas Clark Key Stat 1— Of the Colts' eight wins on the year, only one has been by a touchdown or more. Our Take Tosten Burks— What a bleh game. I don't care about the Colts and the Bengals are a vaudeville act. Anybody else wish their name was Visanthe? Zach Fein— This would have been a 40-37 game, two years ago. Play the usual Colts and bench all your Bengals. Alex KozoraHoushmandzadeh remains the only dependable Bengal. You could get away with starting Ocho Cinco, but that's where I draw the line. Manning, Wayne, Gonzalez, and yes, Addai should be starting in fantasy lineups across the U.S.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans
Fantasy Impact Players QB— none, Collins and Dorsey are not startable anywhere RB— Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Jamal Lewis WR— Braylon Edwards, Justin Gage TE— Bo Scaife Key Stat 7, 4, 13— Seven wideouts have more fantasy points, four have more receiving yards, and 13 have more touchdowns than all Cleveland Browns receivers have combined. Our Take Tosten Burks— Winslow is out with a high ankle sprain, which will make Ken Dorsey's return to startingdom even more fun. Hey seuss, Justin Gage might be a better option than Braylon. I'd just start all the tailbacks. Zach Fein— Ken Dorsey has attempted four passes in the last 1,104 days. Don't get cute. Even in 32-team leagues. Alex KozoraI made a joke about Ken Dorsey early in the week, but the Titans won't have any film on him. He could get away with some average performances his first outing or two, a la Brian Griese awhile back. Similar to when Brady Quinn started, the Browns will likely be playing small ball. In emergency situations, Steve Heiden or Martin Rucker can be used as flotation devices. Jamal Lewis will see a lot of carries, but then again, he has to go against the Titans' run defense. Start your usual Titans: Chris Johnson and Kerry Collins. Bo Scaife has been flying under the radar, too.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning RB— Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook WR— DeSean Jackson, Amani Toomer, Domenik Hixon, Kevin Curtis TE— Kevin Boss Key Stat(s) 1— The Giants have lost once in their past 16 games. 32— In wins, the Eagles have scored 32 points per game. In losses, the Eagles have given up 32 points per game Our Take Tosten Burks— All eyes will be on the Giants to see how they play in the midst of the Plaxico scandal. They'll be distracted. The Eagles have momentum from last week's Thursday beatdown. The Eagles have the urgency. I like Philly. A lot of good starts on both sides though. Zach Fein— Antonio Pierce is what keeps the Giants defense as good as it is. If he's not mentally stable after the Plaxico Burress incident, the Giants are going to struggle. I think this game is going to be a shootout just like the first time they played this year (36-31). Start everyone, including Derrick Ward, who is a very good flex play and low-end No. 2 RB in standard leagues. Alex KozoraI wouldn't sit anyone you usually start because anyone you usually start is probably a star (Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook). Dominik Hixon and Amani Toomer have played very well in Burress' absence and both are considered average flex plays. Kevin Boss' targets should increase, too. McNabb is a decent start despite the Giants great pass rush.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Fantasy Impact Players QB— Drew Brees, Matt Ryan RB— Michael Turner, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush WR— Roddy White, Marques Colston, Lance Moore TE— Jeremy Shockey Key Stat 2.5— Drew Brees has a 9.6 yards per attempt at home, which is 2.5 yards more than his 7.1 on the road. Our Take Tosten Burks— Reggie Bush is still hurt. Deuce McCallister isn't going to play because he's too busy cutting weight. Sean Payton says, "You'll see him get a lot of touches this weekend." Who is him? Pierre Thomas. I love Thomas this week. Zach FeinThe Falcons are 8-4, but have been underdogs the past two weeks to a 4-7 Chargers team and a 6-6 Saints team. Can the Falcons get some love? This game will be a high-scoring slugfest. Play everyone on both sides. As for the Saints RB situation, I like Bush the most out of all, followed by Thomas. Alex KozoraAtlanta is on the road, a place where they don't play nearly as well. Great news for Brees owners though it's not like you'd ever find yourself in a situation where you sit him. Start Colston, Lance Moore, and Pierre Thomas with confidence. Ryan is a fringe start to me, but you could do worse. Turner and Roddy White should be starting in almost all leagues.

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Da Games: Late Sundayers

In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Fantasy Impact Players QB Jay Cutler, Tyler Thigpen RB— Peyton Hillis, Larry Johnson WR— Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe, Eddie Royal TE— Tony Gonzalez Key Stat 19.6— The lead runner on teams facing the Chiefs has averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game this year, which would be the most in the league (by 2.7 points per game, no less) if "top runner facing Chiefs" was a running back. Our Take Tosten Burks— Which Broncos will show up? Eff if I know. Might as well risk it, they're playing the stupid Chiefs. Plug all their pieces into your puzzle. Side note: Hillis has looked as good as any Denver running back in years. What's his keeper value? Does Shanahan's RB ADD completely diminish it, or has he locked up the starting job? Interesting offseason story to watch. Zach Fein— Surprisingly, I like the Chiefs in an upset. Both QBs and WRs, and the three WRs are all starts. This should be a close, 30-27 game. Alex KozoraCutler, Peyton Hillis, and Brandon Marshall are must starts. Eddie Royal is a nice flex play. Tony Gonzalez will probably lead the Chiefs in targets with the Broncos' linebacking core still beat up.
Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills (in Toronto)
Fantasy Impact Players QB Chad Pennington RB— Marshawn Lynch, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams WR— Tedd Ginn Jr, Lee Evans TE— none Key Stat 14— Lee Evans is averaging 80 yards and a score in his last eight games against Miami, or 14 fantasy points per game. Our Take Tosten Burks— JP Losman. Hahahahaha. Zach Fein— Lee Evans is a top-5 wideout this week as he goes up a team he alway burns. Chad Pennington, Marshawn Lynch, and Ronnie Brown are starts as well. Looking for a sleeper? Davone Bess has had 80 yards in each of the last two games (his two games as a starter). Alex KozoraRunning backs should dominate this one since there will be frigid temperatures in Toronto. Good news for Marshawn Lynch and Ronnie Brown owners, both of whom are great starts. With the absence of Trent Edwards, downgrade Lee Evans.
New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers
Fantasy Impact Players QB Brett Favre, Shaun Hill RB— Thomas Jones, Frank Gore, Leon Washington WR— Laveraneus Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Isaac Bruce TE— Dustin Keller, Vernon Davis Key Stat 16.4— Since gaining the starting job, Shaun Hill has averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game. Our Take Tosten Burks— Am I the only one who thinks that Michael Bloomberg must be a Jets fan? Three-and-a-half years for gun possession. I don't know, but that seems crazy to me. No one who has fan interest vested in the team that the player involved is on gets outraged at the thought of said player not getting punished to the full extent of the law. By the way, Shaun Hill is good. Who knew? Zach Fein— We don't need to tell you, but play Favre, Thomas Jones, Coles, and Cotchery. I think Leon Washington gets either a touchdown or a long run, too. Shaun Hill, as noted in the Key Stat, is worthy of being a starter in 12-team leagues, plus the Jets have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs on the year. Alex KozoraNate Clements is banged up, and may not play Sunday. If not, upgrade Favre, Cotchery, and Coles. Thomas Jones has been steady, yet productive all year long. The only 49er worth starting is Gore.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy Impact Players QB Matt Cassell RB— Sammy Morris, Julius Jones WR— Randy Moss, Wes Welker TE— John Carlson Key Stat 1— Only one team gives up more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Seahawks. Our Take Tosten Burks— Some observations about the player list above: Hasselbeck is not fantasy relevant while Cassell is. What in the world? Sammy Morris is supposedly the New England running back flavor of the week and they say Jones is the back of choice for Seattle right now. I don't trust either. I have a strange obsession with John Carlson. I have no idea why. Zach Fein— Matt Hasselbeck is out. Frankly, I wouldn't play anyone on the Seahawks this week. Alex KozoraAll Pats are a go. All Seahawks aren't, especially with Matt Hasselbeck out again. Simple as that.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy Impact Players QB Kurt Warner RB— Steven Jackson, Tim Hightower WR— Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Torry Holt, Donnie Avery TE— nothing Key Stat 78— Steve Breaston is averaging 78 receiving yards in his last nine games. Our Take Tosten Burks— Here's a key stat: 100 percent of the starting running backs in this game have dreadlocks. That has no fantasy value at all. Holt and Avery are risky but I like 'em both for this week in bigger leagues. The Cardinals aren't good on defense. Zach Fein— Play everyone on the Cardinals. Start SJax and no one else on the Rams. Alex KozoraWarner, Fitz, and Boldin should have their owners grinning when this game is all said and done. I'd start Hightower in the flex, too. No Rams are worth starting.
Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers
Fantasy Impact Players QB Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger RB— Willie Parker, Tashard Choice WR— Terrell Owens, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward TE— Jason Witten Key Stat 3— Ben Roethlisberger has three more interceptions than passing touchdowns since Week Eight. Our Take Tosten Burks— Matt Hasselbeck called Big Ben a girl this week. I say Roth gets pumped up and goes off for a big day. P.S. This USC/UCLA game that just finished at time of typing absolutely sucked. While are people still excited about Rick Neuheisel? What has looked good about his inaugural season? Zach FeinMarion Barber has been ruled out of this game, but I don't like Tashard Choice against the stout Steelers defense. This game is going to be low-scoring, and I only like Romo, TO, Ward, and Witten in this game. Alex KozoraDespite their vaunted defense, it'd be hard to justify sitting any of the Cowboys many studs. Ditto with the Steelers, I'd start everyone you normally would.
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Da Games: Prime Timers

In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup.
Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens
Fantasy Impact Players QB Jason Campbell, Joe Flacco RB— Clinton Portis, Le'Ron McClain WR— Santana Moss TE— Chris Cooley Key Stat 18.5— The Ravens give up only 18.5 fantasy points to QBs and RBs per game, by far the best in the league. Our Take Tosten Burks— Dude. Todd Heap caught a touchdown last week. I thought that guy was six feet under. I'd guess that it was a fluke though. In this matchup Portis and Cooley are the only guys you should start confidently. Moss and Evans probably are must starts though. Zach Fein— I really like this Ravens team. I actually think they're one of the best in the AFC. Look for a 17-10 game here. Start Portis, Moss, Mason, and the two tight ends. I'd guess that Le'Ron McLain will be the Ravens back you want this week. Alex KozoraOnly Redskins player you should definitely start is Portis. If you have more viable options than Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, etc. don't hesitate to use them. I'd still stay away from Baltimore running backs. Never know who's going to get the workload. Jim Harbaugh must've taken a Mike Shanahan crash course.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Fantasy Impact Players QB Jake Delhomme RB— DeAngelo Williams, Warrick Dunn WR— Steve Smith, Antonio Bryant TE— none Key Stat 11— There have been an average of 55 points scored in the 14 Monday Night Football game splayed this year, 11 more than the 44 scored during Sunday and Thursday games. Our Take Tosten Burks— What is up with Jonathan Stewart? He was the most physically imposing rookie running back. 235 and a 4.4 40. He's stunk all year! He busted one long last week, but on the 50 yard dash he looked slower than Warrick Dunn's mother. One of the bigger busts of 2008. Start his backfield mate Williams with confidence though, along with Dunn and Smith. Zach Fein— The Bucs and Panthers both have very good defenses, but as the Key Stat shows, MNF games have been much more high-scoring than other games this year. I only like DeAngelo, Dunn, Steve Smith, and Antonio Bryant in this game. Alex KozoraI don't think you can sit Steve Smith, but I wouldn't start Jake Delhomme. He's had his fair share of struggles lately. However, with the Bucs defensive line ravaged by injuries, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart could have excellent days. Give it another week before you even start to think about starting Caddy, as tempting as it might be, it's only been two weeks. Don't forget about Antonio Bryant if you're in need of a wide receiver; he's been Garcia's favorite target.
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Stat Boy Saturday: Which Players Can You Trust In The Playoffs?

Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for your fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet. He checks in this week with the most consistent performers on the year. Some people you just cannot trust. O.J. Simpson says he never killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson or her friend Ronald Goldman. Bill Clinton says he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky." Roger Clemens says he did not take steroids. (Wait, that's not the right video...) Today, Chris Landry, formerly of, denied plagiarism of Andrew Brandt and Mike Lombardi of Heck, I couldn't trust anyone that said you can trust any of those examples. On the same note, there are some football players you can't trust week-in, week-out for your fantasy team. Last year, Chad Johnson Ocho Cinco Ochocinco Johnson had 87.2 fantasy points in his three highest-scoring games, and 104.8 in his other 13 games. This year, his teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh has 62 fantasy points in his three highest-scoring games, and just 43 in his other nine games. You wouldn't want to trust either of them as your No. 1 or 2 wide receiver going into the fantasy playoffs. Similarly, you could trust Willis McGahee last year—he had double-digit fantasy points in every game heading into the playoffs, but unfortunately burned some with two games under six fantasy points in Weeks 14 through 16 and was injured in the final week of the season. What about this year? Who are the safest choices for your fantasy team, and who are the biggest risk/reward players? I looked at the week-to-week consistency of the top-15 quarterbacks, top-25 running backs, and top-30 wideouts by looking at the standard deviation of their game-by-game stats. Standard deviation effectively measures how far a set of values (in this case, week-by-week production) is away from the mean; here's a more detailed definition. A lower standard deviation means that the player usually produces the same each week, a higher meaning that you can't predict the player's performance. In order to take away from those players who seem to get five carries for 20 yards each and every week (and therefore would have a standard deviation almost near zero), I found a player's real value by dividing their fantasy points per game, by the standard deviation of the week-by-week fantasy points per game—if player X scores 15 fantasy points per game and has a standard deviation of five, his "value" would be three, 15 divided by five. Doing this makes a higher score better. I did this for different statistics for each position, to see, for example, if a running back was getting the same amount of carries per week but much different amounts of rushing yards. Here are the results.
Player Fan.Pts Yard_Pass TD_Pass
Kurt Warner 3.74 3.69 2.83
Jason Campbell 3.05 3.75 1.21
Matt Ryan 3.02 4.72 1.26
Tony Romo 3.00 5.12 2.47
Eli Manning 2.97 4.28 1.66
Aaron Rodgers 2.80 3.83 1.62
Drew Brees 2.71 5.23 1.73
Jay Cutler 2.36 3.47 1.73
Peyton Manning 2.27 5.18 1.66
Phillip Rivers 2.20 3.30 1.72
Chad Pennington 2.04 3.72 0.96
David Garrard 2.01 4.29 1.21
Tyler Thigpen 1.97 2.26 1.18
Joe Flacco 1.88 3.93 1.22
Donovan McNabb 1.80 3.14 1.19
Ben Roethlisberger 1.71 2.74 1.14
Brett Favre 1.69 5.40 1.04
Trent Edwards 1.62 3.46 1.77
Jake Delhomme 1.53 2.93 1.22
Matt Cassel 1.32 2.64 0.91
  • Jason Campbell has been sneakily consistent this year. His week-by-week fantasy point totals are as follows: 9, 17, 18, 18, 8, 10, 11, 15, 5, 11, 15, 11. Only one single-digit game since Week Two equals fantasy playoff starter-worthy.
  • No. 3 on this list is Matt Ryan, who, like Campbell, has only one single-digit fantasy point game since Week Three. Both he and Campbell are must-starts if you are sitting with Ben Roethlisberger or Jake Delhomme at quarterback. You know you'll get 12 points out of them.
  • Nos. 6 through 10 are the heavyweights, if you will. Just because they are below . Let me repeat: just because they are below Campbell and Ryan does NOT mean you bench them for a rookie quarterback.
  • McNabb would have a 2.53 value, just above Jay Cutler, if his -3.1-point stinker against the Ravens was taken out. Don't take too much into his low spot.
  • Drew Brees is No. 2 on the passing yards value list—that is phenomenal considering he has just a bit more passing yards than Kurt Warner, who is 10 spots lower than Brees.
Running Backs
Player Fan.Pts Touches Yards_Total TD_Total
Matt Forte 3.28 6.87 4.07 1.21
Derrick Ward 2.90 2.92 4.61 0.45
Jamal Lewis 2.72 4.70 6.74 0.71
Brandon Jacobs 2.45 5.10 2.70 1.38
Frank Gore 2.31 4.24 2.85 0.91
Adrian Peterson 2.28 4.50 2.48 1.04
Marshawn Lynch 2.27 3.67 2.80 1.07
Clinton Portis 2.26 4.46 2.92 0.77
LaDainian Tomlinson 2.13 5.12 2.85 0.77
Thomas Jones 2.07 3.78 2.88 1.04
Marion Barber 2.06 3.29 2.40 1.04
Kevin Smith 2.02 2.28 2.16 0.85
Tim Hightower 1.98 2.57 1.91 1.04
Chris Johnson 1.83 5.02 2.28 0.89
Steve Slaton 1.79 3.83 2.21 1.04
Maurice Jones-Drew 1.66 2.88 1.93 0.96
Le'Ron McClain 1.61 1.93 1.75 0.91
Ryan Grant 1.60 2.77 2.04 0.58
Michael Turner 1.56 4.98 2.12 0.82
DeAngelo Williams 1.50 4.66 2.22 0.86
Ronnie Brown 1.43 3.64 2.19 0.78
Steven Jackson 1.40 3.20 2.18 0.50
Brian Westbrook 1.31 3.06 1.73 0.86
LenDale White 1.26 2.11 1.11 1.14
Mewelde Moore 1.22 1.77 1.93 0.59
  • Want a very nice flex play this week? Check out Derrick Ward. In his past five games, he's averaged 18 touches, 94 yards, and 11.8 fantasy points. Even with Brandon Jacobs ahead of him, he's had eight games with more than eight fantasy points since Week Two, and has had more than five fantasy points in every game on the year.
  • Last year, Adrian Peterson was so inconsistent his fantasy point value was a paltry 1.24. He's silenced his critics this year with just three single-digit games on the season.
  • DeAngelo Williams is No. 20 on the fantasy points value list. But if you only look at Week Five, when he started to become a real fantasy force, and beyond, his value in that category jumps to 2.23. He was incredibly consistent from Weeks One through Four, and Five through Thirteen—but if you combine them together he's not.
  • Jamal Lewis is far and away the best in yards value. Just look at his week-by-week yardage total. He's as sure of a thing for 80 yards as anyone.
Wide Receivers
Player Fan.Pts Targets Yard_Rec TD_Rec
Larry Fitzgerald 3.61 3.27 2.35 0.89
Dwayne Bowe 2.74 3.00 2.68 0.77
Wes Welker 2.57 4.71 2.69 0.30
Greg Jennings 2.28 2.06 2.58 0.91
Anquan Boldin 2.23 2.92 2.21 1.17
Roddy White 2.07 2.47 3.36 0.77
Andre Johnson 1.95 2.99 2.10 0.71
Calvin Johnson 1.90 2.46 2.23 1.07
Steve Smith 1.88 4.31 2.37 0.60
DeSean Jackson 1.86 3.68 2.11 0.45
Hines Ward 1.82 2.54 2.06 0.77
Lee Evans 1.81 2.24 2.15 0.58
Vincent Jackson 1.73 2.42 1.87 0.85
Reggie Wayne 1.69 2.59 2.31 0.85
Brandon Marshall 1.66 3.30 2.03 0.76
Kevin Walter 1.52 2.81 2.20 0.77
Donald Driver 1.48 2.10 1.92 0.71
Muhsin Muhammad 1.45 2.06 1.70 0.71
Derrick Mason 1.43 2.83 1.73 0.58
Jerricho Cotchery 1.41 2.16 1.89 0.53
Terrell Owens 1.39 2.46 1.34 1.07
Eddie Royal 1.35 2.80 1.38 0.91
Lance Moore 1.33 2.51 1.54 0.89
Antonio Bryant 1.32 2.03 1.54 0.58
Santana Moss 1.32 2.54 1.32 0.85
Isaac Bruce 1.31 2.26 1.19 0.77
Bernard Berrian 1.28 2.00 1.46 0.85
Randy Moss 1.26 3.25 1.75 0.71
T.J. Housmandzadeh 1.25 3.19 1.72 0.53
Laveranues Coles 1.05 2.27 1.64 0.58
  • Wes Welker has been considered a bust thus far, but he's near the top in fantasy points, targets, and receiving yards value. He's had at least six targets in every game, 50 yards in all but two, and five fantasy points in all but two games on the year. With the Seahawks coming up this week, he's a great start if you need a safe, reliable option.
  • Near the bottom of the fantasy points list are all the long-catch guys. They either get a 60-yard touchdown catch or 30 yards on the day, which I why I like to stick with the Wes Welkers of the world over the Bernard Berrians.
  • If you have Santana Moss as your No. 1 wideout, you better hope he goes off for 140 yards. Moss has six games under 60 yards receiving, and he's averaging only 6.2 fantasy points per game if you take out his three big games over 140 yards.

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Week 14 Name Calling

Name Calling is our almost-weekly feature where we help you figure out which name to call for that flex position, #3 wideout spot, or any other lineup conundrum you may be faced with. Our goal is to help you decide on borderline starters by revealing who will hit pay dirt and who will implode. None of this "start Peyton Manning" or "sit Derek Hagan" nonsense. No loving, hating, flaming, or video gaming either. Just a bit of name calling is all. I hear that the Chargers/Raiders game was held in 3D in certain theaters. "Hear" is the operative word though since I don't happen to live in Los Angeles, New York, or Boston. And despite my one-man hunger strike to put the NFL Network on cable isn't going over so well, I couldn't even watch the game. Though now that I think about it, that's probably a blessing in disguise. Who wants to spend a Thursday night watching the Raiders get crushed? The whole 3D concept seemed too gimmicky for me. This isn't Spy Kids. You don't need to get all fancy when you're the NFL, or at least you shouldn't have to. Just put on football and people will watch, even if it is the Raiders. Here at FFWWH though, we don't need a gimmick. Just straight-up fantasy football advice. Who You Gonna Call Pierre Thomas/RB New Orleans: D├ębut le! That's "start him" in French at least, so says the Internet which probably isn't the best place to go for a translation. Whatever language, Thomas is a solid play against Atlanta this week. The game is in the Superdome, where the Falcons allow an average of a little over 101 yards on the ground per game this year (117 if you take out the game against Oakland). Even with Deuce eligble to play, it sounds like Thomas will be the workhorse after hearing this from Sean Payton: "I think so, " Payton said. "We saw him handle a real good workload a year ago in Chicago, and certainly his role has changed of late with us. You'll see him get a lot of touches this weekend." That's a ringing endorsement from both Payton and myself. Tim Hightower/RB Arizona: Yes, he's struggled the past few weeks. About the only thing that's done worse than him is the run defense of the Rams. And look at that, Hightower gets to face those very same Rams this week. At home. With something to prove. The last two times the Rams went on the road? They were blown out, allowing 149 yards to Thomas Jones and 106 to Frank Gore. Because of the rookie's struggles, some fans want Edge back in the lineup. I can assure you he wants to quiet his critics, and a big game would do just that. On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always call, using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to start some dude over LDT): RBs against Detroit and Kansas City, WRs against Miami and Seattle, QBs against Detroit and San Diego Who You Not Gonna Call Jason Campbell/QB Washington: After starting out the season on a really good note, Campbell's play has diminished the past few weeks. Including the Steelers game Week Nine, Campbell has thrown just two TDs compared to his four interceptions and has only one game in which he threw for over 206 yards. Back-to-back games in which he struggled to complete 60 percent of his passes doesn't help his cause either. Frankly, I don't see things getting better for him this week. I'll do my best impersonation of Zach and throw some numbers your way. 1. The Ravens rank second in the league in pass defense, allowing just over 175 yards through the air. 2. The Ravens are first in the league in interceptions with 20. 3. They are 9th in the league in sacks. Granted, they have benefited from a soft schedule so far, but they're a very physical team. Jason Campbell, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't want any part of that. Jake Delhomme/QB Carolina: He and the Panthers have been winning games in real life, but the story probably isn't the same if you've been starting Delhomme in your fantasy leagues. He's only thrown for three touchdown passes his last four games, and attempted just 17 passes last week. Tampa Bay has one of the most stingy pass defenses in the league, third in the league to be exact, led by Monte Kiffin and that dreaded Tampa 2. The past three weeks they held Gus Ferrotte and Daunte Culpepper to under 150 yards passing, and they picked Drew Brees off three times last week, something that has only happened three times the past two seasons. Not On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always caller ID check and ignore, once again using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to bench Drew Brees): RBs against the Ravens, Oakland WRs, QBs against Indianapolis

We wear belts.

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Friday, December 5

Week 14 Mancrushes

Yada, yada, yada, the old intro was boring. I'm cutting it. And the "Straight Outta Mancavedom" thing was absolutely atrocious. How did none of you readers email us and tell us how fricking eye callusing it was? Feedback people. We want to know when we're retarded. Ya I used the R-Word. Retarded. Demented. Inept. Tell us when we're that. [] Also, tell your frickin friends about this site. I know you take into account every effing word we have to say. Tell your friends to drink our content every desk day too. Share the mother effin tequila. Here's our week fourteen bromances. We like the following list of men. That's right. Tosten Burks You know that gay B-lister on The Hills, Brody? Yeah, dated LC, son of that decathlon. How sick would that be to be in his entourage! To be his best friend. Like MTV says, "He's the type of guy everyone wants to hang out with." So you are trying to become his BFF. But so are a whole group of other "regular guys." And it's all filmed. And televised. Probably prime time. That'd be the sickest thing on the tube right? Okay, shank me in the lymph node now. I'm done. What the heck is wrong with you Music Television dumb jacks? Play music. Not ridiculous episodes of making friends and frolicking in rose petal showers. Like this. You've gotta be joking me. Oh, and start Steve Breaston. He's had at least six receptions three of the past four weeks. Plus the Cardinals play the Rams this week. Who are minus any sort of passing defense. What does that equal? A math problem! And a quality start for Fitz and Boldin's wingman Steve Breaston. Who's cool, unlike Brody Jenner. Zach Fein Don't play Denver running backs....Don't play Denver running backs.... That's a fantasy truism, right? You know, what with Mike Shanahan and his interchangeable-parts backfield? Right? Forget it. Peyton Hillis is an every-week start. He's averaging just below 100 total yards per game on 18 touches in his last three games (as well as four touchdowns in that span) since becoming the starter in Denver. His rushing attempts have gone up by more than five each week and his total yardage by 26. He's had a robust 5.04 yards per carry and 5.46 yards per touch in those three games, too. Want even more reason to start him? His opponent: Kansas City. The top opposing rusher (in terms of fantasy points) going against the Chiefs each week has a per-game line of 16 carries for 90 rushing yards, three receptions for 26 yards, and 19.6 fantasy points, with 16 touchdowns in 12 games. And that's not even including Chris Johnson and his 168 rushing yards in Week Seven. Alex Kozora Canada, eh?
Yes, that's where my mancrush where be playing this week. No, this isn't anyone from the CFL (sorry Mike Vanderjagt, currently of the Toronto Argonauts).
I'm talking about Marshawn Lynch, and he and the Bills will be playing in Toronto this weekend. It's bound to be cold, I've never heard of a Canadian heat wave, and with a QB situation that won't be decided until gametime [Ed's note: Trent Edwards was declared out], you can bet the Bills will as run-minded as can be.
Lynch is averaging 18 carries at home this year allowing for a lot of opportunities to rack up yards and touchdowns. Yes, I consider Toronto a home game for the Bills.
A great start this week, eh?
We don't ever state the obvious of all slapping you in the forehead multiple times obviousness.
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Thursday, December 4

Update on the Busy Lackadaisical Past Few Weeks

Tosten claims the reason for his two articles in 21 days is that he's been busy and sick. Gage saw Twilight. Alex and I have, well, done our jobs and posted each of our respective articles. The Mancrushes will be up tomorrow absent Gage as always. The Name Calling and Stat Boy articles will be up tomorrow and Saturday, we stopped doing Double Coverage about Week Five or so, and the Da Games Forecasts depend on whether we are in the mood to do them. I did my part of them three weeks ago (November 15 for those counting at home) but Alex and Tosten were doing other things so it wasn't posted. And don't ask me about the last two weeks. The HAIRY'S won't be posted on Monday but the Weekend Recap will, and the Running the Wire and News From Ball Street articles should be up Tuesday and Wednesday. That sums it up.
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Tuesday, December 2

Matthew Berry Clearly Doesn't Read Us

From today's "Talented Mr. Roto" column:
[T]he Ravens have a tough playoff schedule against the run. Redskins, Steelers and then at the Cowboys. ... Here's a list of teams with the best and worst playoff schedules, in no particular order. [Goes on to list teams] It's just something to keep in mind as you consider roster moves while reading the pickups.
Tsk tsk.
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Burress Shoots Himself In Foot (Figuratively This Time); Deuce and Others Suspended

A few days after shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub, Plaxico Burress has been suspended by the New York Giants for four games. He was placed on the non-football injury reserve list, ending his season. Burress currently faces two counts of illegal weapon possession, and if convicted without pleading down the charge, he faces a minimum jail sentence of three and-a-half years with a maximum sentence of 15 years. Burress can obviously be dropped in any single-year leagues, and at this point, isn't even a keeper option. Granted, that could change depending on how the case pans out. Domenik Hixon will continue to start in Burress' place and is definitely worth picking up in all leagues. Eli Manning's value shouldn't be effected though; he's played well in Burress' absence, throwing for 545 yards and four touchdowns the past two games. Amani Toomer along with Kevin Boss get boosts in their respective value. Antonio Pierce, allegedly involved during the time of the shooting, has not been disciplined by either the team or league, but is still under investigation. Derrick Ward's name has been cleared in the case.
In other news, six players were suspended by the league today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Those players are as follows:
  1. Deuce McAllister/RB New Orleans
  2. Charles Grant/DE New Orleans
  3. Will Smith/DE New Orleans
  4. Bryan Pittman/LS Houston
  5. Kevin Williams/DT Minnesota
  6. Pat Williams/DT Minnesota

Fantasy Impact:

Grant's, Smith's, and Pittman's suspensions have little to no impact. With Deuce out for the rest of the regular season, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will share the carries. Thomas has played well lately, and has more value than Bush until Reggie shows that he's fully healed from his injury. The Vikings' defensive line is decimated because of these suspensions. Opposing offenses should have a much easier time running the ball with a 650-plus-pound wall gone. Good news for Kevin Smith, Tim Hightower, and Michael Turner owners. [Ed's note: The Vikings' remaining games come against the Lions, Cardinals, and Falcons, as well as the Giants in Week 17.] Offenses' passing games get a boost, too, as the Vikings may have to stack the box and be more run-focused to make up for the loss of the Williams duo. [Writer's note: A federal judge blocked the suspensions on all the players involved except for Bryan Pittman. This means the other five players will be be eligble to play this week.]

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Monday, December 1

Weekend Recap: Week 13

I'm sure a lot of us here—well, how do I put this nicely—aren't fans of Matthew Berry. With that said, I'm sure a lot of us would give anything to see him mocked for making an incorrect pick. Those people got their wish this week. In the fantasy edition of NFL Sunday Countdown with Mr. Berry and Merril Hoge (who gave us the groundbreaking story that fantasy owners love when their players score touchdowns), Berry said to sit Donald Driver, as well as in his Love/Hate list for Week 13. I'll give credit where credit is due (and for the record, I don't hate Berry), Driver had a sub-par week. But he had one great catch, and Chris Berman made sure to make a note of it, remarking, "Sit him" as the highlight of Driver's diving catch rolled across television screens. Simply awesome. - You know what else is awesome? Jason Witten finally broke out of the slump on Thanksgiving, catching nine passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. His chemistry with Tony Romo should be at full strength again, making performances like this common place in the upcoming weeks. - DeAngelo Williams has certainly developed a knack for the end zone lately. Seven touchdowns the past three weeks, and the Panthers are the first one to recognize that. With at least 17 or more carries in six of his last eight games, he's become a dependable start. - Don't read into Mark Clayton's showing Sunday. Even the most optimistic Ravens fan will tell you that he's as hit-or-miss as they come. Not to mention that it was against the Bengals, who have more injured defensive backs than they do fans. - Joseph Addai had just 57 yards against a Browns defense that ranks just 26th in the league against the run. It's a Thanksgiving miracle! Not really actually, as this was the sixth time this season that Addai was held under 60 yards rushing. Jeff Saturday's return is up in the air, keeping Addai's value in the toilet. - It's a sign of the apocalypse. Stock up on water everyone, Ken Dorseyboy, was the first sentence of that card wrong—is a starter again. Run! - Peyton Hillis' carries and production have increased the past three weeks. Seems like Shanny has finally settled on a running back. This must really be the end of the world. - No Harris Smith Plaxico Burress, no problem. All Amani Toomer and Domenik Hixon did was catch a combined 10 balls for 156 yards and a touchdown. Both guys are worth picking up. *Enter semi-funny one-liner here*
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