Posted on: September 17, 2010 3:14 pm

Waiver Wire

Truism of fantasy football: every year there are players that will not be drafted in a fantasy football draft but will emerge off the fantasy football waiver wire to be solid additions for a fantasy football team, sometimes exploding to stud status. Good work on the waiver wire involves knowing who is low on the radar just before their stock goes through the roof. Word of caution: While a quick trigger in the free agent market can make a bad team good, it can also make a good team bad. Before just adding the players listed below to your roster, here are a few guidelines to help ensure that the former happens rather than the latter.

1. Do not just randomly pick-up a player or drop a player solely based on the information given below use some discretion as the quality of the player varies from league to league due to the size and scoring system of each league. In addition, team needs vary from fantasy team to fantasy team, so some discretion can go a long way. The list posted below is to bring some players to your attention and give you a comment or two regarding their possibilities.

2. Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to drop any player you drafted in the first ten rounds of your draft in the first few weeks. Be patient, particularly with wide receivers as they are very inconsistent in most scoring systems, posting a horrible week one week and then backing it up with a good performance in the following week.

3. Be quick to grab running backs, especially as new starters are announced or as players emerge with huge games. This does not mean dropping a traditionally good player in order to pick up one of these running backs, but if you have an extra D, TE, or even a lower tier WR, it is probably in your best interest to drop one of them and take a chance.  RBs are in high demand and almost always carry value provided they are a primary back for a NFL team.
Posted on: August 26, 2010 2:32 pm

Winning Your Fantasy Football League

I don't proclaim to be a fantasy football expert, but I have a system that works. I'm only in two paid leagues, and I won both leagues last year. The previous year, I took 2nd place in one league and 1st in the other. Fantasy football has become a nice way to generate some extra revenue for The Daniel.

Lots of people think they know how to win at fantasy football, but most of them are full of malarkey. They draft their teams based of off the previous season and whatever nonsense they read in a magazine, or on a blog. I've come up with a system that puts your fantasy  team in a really good position to win it all. It's all about data.

Forget projections and overall position lists! All you need to focus on is the draft averages. If you do enough mock drafts, and study the draft average sheets from CBS and ESPN, you will be fine! Most people don't take the time to study the draft averages, so what happens is they draft players out of position. That messes up their team, because they miss out on other valuable players.

You should know where to grab each one of your position players, based on the data you collect. In a 17 round draft, you should know which players you can get in each of the 17 rounds. Make a list of a few RBs, WRs, QBs, and TEs that you can get, and what their draft average is. This will be your draft guide. When it's your turn, look at the players you have selected for each round and draft according to your teams needs.

Having a draft grid based on average draft position will also show you when valuable players slip into the later rounds. Further, it will prevent you from drafting a guy too early.

The numbers don't lie. If a guy is being drafted 87th overall, there is a reason for it. Don't be that guy to reach for him in the 4th round, when you could have taken him in the 7th or 8th.

You might think that this system is moronic, but it has worked for me the last 2 years. Before that, I was drafting like everyone else and I didn't prepare very much. I thought I knew a lot about football, and drafted players based on the top 200 list and my gut feelings. Using a draft average grid will put your team into the championship game...or pretty close to it.

Aside from that, make sure you load up on RBs and WRs in the middle round...no surprise there. I don't carry a backup DEF or TE. Also, this may be obvious, but take the kicker in the last round!

I hope this helps with your upcoming drafts!

Posted on: December 28, 2009 10:12 am

Who can we trust?

The holidays are great, because you get to exchange gifts and get some time off from work. With that being said, the best part about this holiday was that I won the championship in both of my fantasy (money) leagues. Nothing is more satisfying that taking money from your friends.

After watching a few of the worst games over one weekend that I can remember in some time, and how it affected the fantasy football world, one thing kept coming to mind: who can we trust in fantasy? I pulled out a win in both of my championship games, but some of my money players weren’t so “money.” Seriously, no one should expect a professional in any vocation to work at peak efficiency 100% of the time, but for a league in which so many "pros" are making more money in one season than many of us will make over the 25-30 years, it would seem that consistency would not be so hard to find. Granted, most of us do not have to: worry about RBBC at our jobs (imagine for a second if lawyers or doctors "shared the load" at their jobs, for example, one lawyer was the opening argument and cross-examination specialist while another one strictly handled closing arguments), face the prospect of the media trying to pull apart your co-workers at every turn or concern ourselves with people at work whose sole purpose is to stop us from doing what we want to do, even if sometimes seems that way.

But getting back to the issue of trust, who makes your list of "trustworthy" players? I decided to investigate this a bit further. Just as in school where 70% is a passing score, winning about 70% of your games during a 13-week fantasy regular season will leave you with a 9-4 record (.692 winning %), which will almost always get you a playoff berth, if not a division title and first-round bye. Using that same rationale, I'm setting the bar at 70% consistency for all fantasy players (or players who are subpar less than 30% of the time) across the board.

This analysis is only for the last two seasons and is simply looking for fantasy players who were subpar less than 30% of the time they took the field. Since the measuring sticks change each year, I cannot give a firm fantasy point average for each position, but rather the "subpar level" that each position recorded that season. I think you'll be surprised by the results.

1.      Aaron Rodgers

2.      Larry Fitzgerald

3.      Wes Welker

4.      Andre Johnson

5.      Dwayne Bowe

6.      Antonio Gates

7.      Tony Gonzalez

Meet your fantasy best friends, the players who over the last two seasons were there for you more often than anyone else. Consider the magnitude of this list for a minute if you would. At QB, you need your fantasy signal-caller to average 200 yards passing and two scores in seven of every 10 games. At RB, the averages are 60 yards and a score. At WR, five catches for 70 yards will do the trick and, at TE, five catches for 50 yards is just about enough. Further consider this list could have been reduced to five if you want to get technical and hold injuries or suspensions against a player. For example, Welker missed a few early games due to injury and Bowe just got done serving a four-game suspension. What's most surprising to me is the fact that not a single RB made the list. Believe it or not, last year's qualifiers were Matt Forte, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Slaton, Thomas Jones and Peyton Hillis. (Peyton Hillis, really?!?!?)

Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair at setting the cutoff at 30%. For those of you wanting to know, here is the list of additional players that would make the cut if I raised the bar to 35%:

1.      Drew Brees

2.      Peyton Manning

3.      LaDainian Tomlinson

4.      Adrian Peterson

5.      Chris Johnson

6.      Frank Gore

7.      Steve Smith (CAR)

8.      Vincent Jackson

9.      Brandon Marshall

10.  Dallas Clark

However, if we were to make the cutoff at 40%, we'd also be assuming that 8-5 (.615 winning %) always gets fantasy owners into the playoffs, which it does not. And we all know that somewhere along the way, at least of our opponents will make you their Super Bowl, which shrinks the margin of error even further. Granted, not all of your consistent players are going to hit rock bottom in the same week, so I understand this analysis is a bit lacking in some areas. With that said, it's becoming easier to see why the gap between the #1 team and #10 team is about three games in competitive leagues. We are dealing with a lot of mediocre fantasy players, some much more so than others.

How is this possible? After all, I'm certainly not calling Manning or Chris Johnson mediocre, am I? The answer is no. In psychology, students are often taught that “people are a product of their environment". The same statement applies here as well. Manning, for instance, can blame his knee rehab in 2008 and young WR corps in 2009 for being left off the first list. Johnson was being eased in last year during his rookie season and dealt with a more pass-heavy offensive approach from his offense before the bye in 2009. Steven Jackson's lack of a credible supporting cast recently has made him less consistent than he is capable of while players like Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are off both lists entirely due to their respective delays to "feature-back" status.

Looking ahead to 2010, you're going to see roughly 10-12 of the 17 aforementioned players go in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts next summer and rightfully so, barring the unforeseen. But some of these players (in particular Bowe, LT, Smith, Gates and Gonzalez) will all be seen as players coming off disappointing seasons and thus will see their stock drop. But should it?

Due to his age and shaky future with his current employer, LT will be a hard sell as anything more than a low-end RB2 next season. Outside of him, I think the other 16 names listed above are players that you definitely can "trust".  I'll project now that if you can kick off your draft with Gore (Round 1), Manning (Round 2), Welker (Round 3), Smith or Bowe (Round 4) and Gonzalez (Round 5) next summer, you will find that you have yourself an incredibly consistent and competent team. The point I want to make here is that in a game like fantasy football that has so many variables contributing to its outcome each week, the goal should be to land as many constants as possible. With 4-5 "constants" making up your nine-man starting lineup, you increase your margin for error significantly, which is a very good thing. Ultimately, the draft only puts you in position to succeed; in-season management takes your team to the playoffs and wins championships. But the path to fantasy success begins by locking up as many constants as you can early on, so you don't leave early-season points (and thus, wins) on the bench and easily identify your team's weaknesses before your competition takes advantage. When an owner can use the waiver wire as a way to supplement their bench as opposed to their starting lineup, then it is quite likely their team is in very good shape.

Let's get back to what makes even the NFL's best players "untrustworthy". Sometimes, the biggest obstacle can be the one group of people that fantasy owners SHOULD be able to count on - coaching. For as much good as the great coaches do for their teams, isn't it amazing how often even they forget their team's identity? If I can say that about the great coaches, what does it say about the average or poor ones? The answer to these types of questions usually can be answered in one of two ways: 1) the GM "hints" who should play and the head coach or coordinators don't feel they has the authority to go against him or 2) the coaching staff, as a whole, are poor talent evaluators who can easily be swayed by a box score or the public. One of my biggest never-to-be-answered questions is: what exactly goes on during an NFL practice? Of course I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I ask because I find it amazing how often players just seem to burst on the scene. Let's examine a few pertinent examples:

  • How is it possible that Miles Austin goes from a part-timer to a player who must be double-teamed in less than a month? Are we to believe that Austin merely flashed in practice, only to become option #1 the same week Roy Williams was sidelined? Of course not.

  • How does Jamaal Charles go from Larry Johnson's part-time sidekick to a poor man's version of Chris Johnson in half a season? Apparently, Johnson had built up so much good will with the new coaching staff that Todd Haley & Co. saw fit to give LJ 132 carries to Charles' 23 prior to the bye (and LJ's subsequent suspension and release). It should also be noted that in standard scoring PPR leagues, Charles somehow still managed to outscore Johnson in three of the Chiefs' first seven games.

  • How does Jerome Harrison post the third-highest rushing total in NFL history one game after getting benched after seven carries? Was Jamal Lewis capable of putting up this kind of performance this year? Not a chance. James Davis may have had a chance if he could have stayed healthy, but Cleveland wasted valuable time - in what we all knew was a rebuilding year - giving Lewis carries when it should have been using that time to figure out if Harrison or Joshua Cribbs were part of the solution in the backfield.

  • Lastly, how is it that Michael Bush has the each of the Raiders' last three 100-yard rushing performances and is often the least used of the three backs? With all three Raiders' RBs - Bush, Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden - all having recorded at least 90 carries this season, isn't it a bit odd that Bush is sporting a healthy 5.0 YPC while the other two backs are each under 4.0 YPC?


Some of you may have a few players YTP, before the championship is decided, but now is the time to start thinking about next FFB season. I already cashed in on both of my leagues, by winning the championships. I won, because I prepared for the draft, starting in April. This is how I won:

League 1:

QB: Matt Schaub

RB: Ray Rice

RB: Knowshon Moreno / LeSean McCoy / Donald Brown / Darren McFadden

WR: Andre Johnson

WR: Chad Ochocinco / Calvin Johnson / Pierre Garcon

TE: Vernon Davis / John Carlson

K: Lawrence Tynes

DEF: Jets / Chargers

League 2:

QB: Matt Schaub

RB: Chris Johnson

RB: Knowshon Moreno / Jamaal Charles / Jonathan Stewart / Darren McFadden

WR: Andre Johnson

WR: Vincent Jackson / Jericho Cotchery

TE: Dallas Clark

K: Nate Kaeding

DEF: Eagles / Saints

Most of the players on my roster were drafted. Some were FA pickups, but most were through the draft. The only trade that I made was in League 1: Hines Ward and Willis McGahee for Knowshon Moreno (in week 6). The main point that I’m trying to make is that you have to study the players and draft guys whom are consistent. Fantasy football doesn’t normally reward risky moves. Doing your homework should prevent you from drafting busts (like Darren McFadden). If you take a couple of busts in your draft, the other reliable players should be able to make up for the few stinkers.

Good luck in 2010, boys.  



Posted on: December 10, 2009 8:25 am

Steelers vs Browns

In a marque matchup, the Steelers play the Browns tonight...can you catch my sarcasm? The Steelers need the win to stay in the playoff hunt, so this game should be a rout.

Passing Attack:
When these two teams hooked up earlier this year, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards, the most since a 433 yard performance against Denver back in 2006. Cleveland has lost its last seven games, but the Browns have actually played respectable defense recently. They were torched through the air last week against San Diego, but they held Cincinnati the previous week to 96 passing yards and Baltimore to 146 passing yards in week 10. We’ll see if Big Ben and crew can exploit the Browns on Thursday.

Roethlisberger’s task of leading the reeling Pittsburgh passing game will be made difficult if Hines Ward doesn’t play. The team’s leading receiver has a hamstring injury that will limit his effectiveness if he plays, but if he doesn’t play, Mike Wallace will take his spot and be the deep threat he’s been all season. And don’t look now, but Santonio Holmes has scored in the last two games after not scoring in nine straight. Cleveland’s 32nd ranked defense could be in retreat mode for most of the game, as Holmes could be the driving force of the passing game. You should keep in mind, though, that there could be inclement weather in Cleveland. Snow and wind are possibilities, both of which could hinder the passing game somewhat.

Running Attack: The five games leading up to last week’s contest were okay for Rashard Mendenhall from a yardage standpoint, but they lacked the TDs necessary to make him the consistent low-end #1/high-end #2 RB he’s turned into. His 103 yard effort last week against Oakland, coupled with the fact that he’s had at least 20 carries in 4 of the last 5 games translates into Mendenhall being a valuable commodity right now. The Browns have had trouble stopping the run most of the year, and with DT Shaun Rogers out for the year, that only makes their problem worse. Mendenhall was held to only 62 yards in the first meeting this year, but he did score a TD. And again, with the weather playing a potentially important role, he should be counted on and given every opportunity to at least put up those kinds of numbers this week. The Browns have given up 14 rushing TDs, so expect Mendenhall to get in the end zone this week as well.

And now for the Browns:

Passing Attack: Ok, who was that impersonating an NFL-caliber QB last week for the Cleveland Browns? Couldn’t have been Brady Quinn, right? Well, actually it was. In fact, Quinn had a solid performance against San Diego, throwing for 271 yards, 3 scores and no interceptions. And while Pittsburgh remains one of the league’s toughest defenses, one needn’t look any further than last week’s game against Oakland when Bruce Gradkowski played great in the second half against the Steelers. Cleveland’s offense is just as putrid as Oakland’s, so conventional wisdom says if the Raiders can succeed against the Steelers, the Browns should too. We’ll see if that is indeed the case.

As it stands now, however, be cautious about starting a Cleveland Brown with any level of confidence. Their receivers are still works in progress, and each game in fantasy football this time of year is simply too big to risk playing subpar players against a formidable opponent. Table any thought you may have of starting a Cleveland receiver.

Running Attack: Can you believe that after 12 games the Cleveland Browns only have 3 rushing TDs? That’s an incredible number, but one that hammers home the struggles of this team’s ground attack. With Jamal Lewis on IR, the rushing duties fall on the shoulders of Jerome Harrison, who’s nothing more than a 3rd down back in this league. His fantasy production will be kept at a minimal this week and into the foreseeable future. Perhaps his biggest contribution can be made in the passing game. He did have 7 receptions last week and scored on two of those catches, so there is value there. Just keep your expectations in line this week.

My Prediction: Steelers 24 - Cleveland 13

Posted on: November 17, 2009 8:41 am

FFB week 10 review

49ers 10 – Bears 6

The 49ers rode the legs of Frank Gore to stop a four-game losing streak. Gore had 125 total yards (104 rushing) and scored his seventh TD of the season. After saying prior to the game that Chicago’s defense doesn’t impress him, Vernon Davis was held to 3 catches for 16 yards. However, he remains one of the best options at tight end this year. Michael Crabtree has been solid but unspectacular since joining the team, and he picked up a solid 48 receiving yards against the Bears. Alex Smith picked up his first win since September 2007 though he only had 118 yards on the day, with no touchdowns and an interception. But I’m sure he’s just glad he got a win.

Last year Kyle Orton threw 5 INTs while wearing a Bears uniform; Jay Cutler did the same on Thursday night. Those picks took away nearly all the fantasy points Cutler earned by throwing for 307 yards. Matt Forte also had a tough game on the ground at least. Forte ran for just 41 yards on 20 carries but made up for it by catching 8 passes for 120 yards. Devin Hester was targeted a game-high 14 times but only came down with half of those passes for 48 yards.

Titans 41 – Bills 17

If the Titans were 6-3 instead of 3-6, Chris Johnson would be right up there with Peyton Manning for MVP honors. Johnson was once again magnificent with 132 yards rushing, 100 yards receiving, and 2 touchdowns. Vince Young had his most passing yards (210) since December 2007 and also threw for a TD and ran for 29 yards. With Justin Gage out, Nate Washington became the #1 receiver, compiling 33 receiving yards and a score.

When Terrell Owens has a season-high of 85 receiving yards in Week 10, you know things are rough in Buffalo. Lee Evans had a nice game as well, as he caught 2 TD passes to go along with 50 receiving yards. Marshawn Lynch had 55 total yards and was outperformed by Fred Jackson who had 71 total yards and also threw a TD pass to Evans. For those of you who have Trent Edwards, it may be time to start looking elsewhere for a QB. Edwards was pulled in the fourth quarter after throwing a pick-six. He finished with 185 passing yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, and Coach Jauron was noncommittal on who would be his starting QB next week.

Saints 28 - Rams 23

It wasn’t pretty, but the Saints got the job done. Drew Brees threw for 223 yards and 2 TDs but also threw 2 INTs and has thrown 7 INTs in the last four games. Reggie Bush had his best game of the season, by far, with 98 total yards (83 rushing) and 2 TDs. His versatility combined with his inconsistency make him a flex play each week, especially in PPR leagues. Pierre Thomas took a backseat to Bush in this game as Thomas only had 37 rushing yards. Marques Colston had another quiet game as he had only 17 receiving yards and also lost a fumble. On the other hand, Robert Meachem had his second straight good game with 68 total yards (27 receiving) and a touchdown. Coincidentally, both of these games have come with Lance Moore sitting out. If Moore, Colston, or Devery Henderson miss any time, Meachem is worth serious consideration in your starting lineup.

Steven Jackson continues to be options A, B, and C for the Rams as he had another great game. Jackson had 131 yards and a touchdown on the ground and also had 9 receptions for 45 yards through the air. It was his fifth straight game with over 100 yards from scrimmage. Marc Bulger turned back the clock and looked like the Bulger of 2006. He threw for 298 yards and 2 TDs while displaying his customary accuracy. Even though the bye weeks are over, Bulger is still worth a roster spot as insurance for your starting QB. Donnie Avery had 67 yards and 2 TDs as he remains Bulger’s favorite target. That alone gives him value as a WR3.

Dolphins 25 – Buccaneers 23

The Dolphins got the win but they may have lost their starting running back--at least for one week. Ronnie Brown left the game after hurting his ankle. With a game scheduled this Thursday, Brown may have to sit one out. Before leaving, he did have 82 rushing yards and a score. Ricky Williams led Miami with 102 rushing yards and, if you have him, he should be in your lineup regardless of whether Brown plays or not. Davone Bess appears to be Chad Henne’s favorite receiver but Bess has yet to get into the end zone this year. He had 4 receptions for 72 yards but should only be considered if you are in a PPR league.

Expect more games like this from Josh Freeman (196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 lost fumble), rather than the 3 TD performance last week. Kellen Winslow continued to build on a good season, catching 7 balls for 102 yards on Sunday. Cadillac Williams has been inconsistent throughout the season but he did score a rushing touchdown to go along with 52 yards. He seems destined to be an RB3 for the remainder of the year.

Vikings 27 – Lions 10

This game played out pretty much as expected. Brett Favre threw for 344 yards and one touchdown and Adrian Peterson ran for 133 yards and 2 TDs. However, the star of the day was Sidney Rice who caught 7 passes for 201 yards. Though he only has two scores on the year, Rice is a legit WR2 and is on pace for nearly 1,400 receiving yards. Bernard Berrian continues to be a disappointment as he only had 22 receiving yards. Over the past three seasons, Berrian averaged about 900 receiving yards and 6 TDs. He may reach that TD average but is on pace for fewer than 600 receiving yards. Keep him on your roster, but don’t start him until he can gain some rapport with Favre.

For just the second time this season, Matt Stafford went a full game without throwing a pick. He also threw for 224 yards and a TD. Still, Stafford is only a QB2. Kevin Smith continued his sophomore slump with only 65 total yards this week. He is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry after putting up 4.1 last season. Even so, he is still an RB2/RB3. Calvin Johnson rebounded from last week’s poor game with 8 receptions for 84 yards.

Jaguars 24 – Jets 22

Maurice Jones-Drew continues to prove that he can be an every-down back as he gained 145 total yards and scored a touchdown. MJD became the first RB this year to gain 100 rushing yards against the Jets. His QB, David Garrard, showed his versatility with 221 passing yards and one passing TD along with one rushing touchdown. Mike Sims-Walker found the end zone for the fifth time in his past seven games. He is the Jags’ #1 WR and a fantasy WR2. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted in most fantasy leagues.

Mark Sanchez’s up-and-down rookie season hit another down against the Jaguars. He did throw for 212 yards and a touchdown, but also threw 2 INTs. Since he is fringe fantasy material at this point, he shouldn’t be on your roster. Someone who definitely should be on your roster is Thomas Jones who took another drink from the fountain of youth Sunday before running for 77 yards and a score. I thought the loss of Favre would hurt him but he’s actually outperforming his 2008 numbers. Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery had 79 and 68 receiving yards, respectively. Cotchery also scored a TD. You never know which one is going to be Sanchez’s favorite target for a particular game so neither has more value than a WR3 at this point.

Bengals 18 – Steelers 12

Surprisingly, this game featured no offensive TDs. Carson Palmer had 178 yards passing while Chad Ochocinco had only 29 receiving yards. Cedric Benson only had 7 carries for 22 yards before leaving with a hip injury, which he doesn’t believe is serious. With Chris Henry done for the season, Laveranues Coles will get more looks, and he led the team this week with 5 receptions for 67 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger only completed 50% of his passes and threw an INT along with only 174 yards. Santonio Holmes, with 88 receiving yards, garnered more fantasy points than any other player. Heath Miller (26) and Hines Ward (24) combined for only 50 receiving yards as Roethlisberger struggled under constant pressure from the Bengals. Rashard Mendenhall couldn’t repeat last Monday night’s performance as he had only 36 rushing yards on just 13 carries.

Redskins 27 – Broncos 17

For the first time this year, the Redskins managed to break the 17-point threshold to pick up their third win of the year. Jason Campbell was serviceable, throwing for 193 yards and one touchdown while not turning the ball over. Ladell Betts, subbing for the concussed Clinton Portis, had 114 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Redskins are likely not in a rush to get Portis back on the field with such a serious injury as a concussion. If Betts is still available in your league for some reason, jump on him. He could make for a nice flex play in the coming weeks. Santana Moss had a measly 2 catches for 8 yards and should be benched until he can show some consistency. He’s in a similar situation to Carolina’s Steve Smith; they are great players, but the people around them are hurting their fantasy value.

Not only did the Broncos lose their third game in a row, but they may have also lost their QB for a couple of weeks. Kyle Orton threw for 193 yards and 2 TDs before leaving with an ankle injury that could keep him out of next week’s pivotal matchup with San Diego. His backup, Chris Simms, has barely played since 2006 and should not be picked up in free agency. Brandon Marshall caught two long TD passes and finished with 134 receiving yards. Eddie Royal’s (21 receiving yards) disappearing act extended another week and, unless you get points for return yards, he has virtually no value. Knowshon Moreno had 97 rushing yards to lead the Broncos and, maybe an even better sign for his owners, had 18 carries compared to Buckhalter’s 2 carries.

Panthers 28 - Falcons 19

Jake Delhomme actually looked like a pro QB against Atlanta as he threw for 2 TDs and 195 yards without turning the ball over. Steve Smith, who is managing to salvage this season despite his QB’s play, caught both Delhomme’s TD passes. DeAngelo Williams appears to have regained his 2008 form as he had 122 total yards, while backfield mate Jonathan Stewart had 82 rushing yards and 2 scores. Williams is a bona-fide RB1 and Stewart is a safe flex option.

If he wasn’t there before this game, Matt Ryan is officially in a sophomore slump. Actually, slump may be too nice a word, as he has thrown 11 INTs in his last six games. He did throw for 224 yards, but the points he got from his TD were negated by the turnovers. With a tough upcoming schedule (NYG, PHI, NO, NYJ), things are not going to get any easier. You may want to hit up the trade market to see what kind of value you can get for Ryan. To make matters worse for Atlanta, Michael Turner injured his ankle and will undergo additional tests on Monday. He had rushed for 111 yards before leaving and all Turner owners should immediately grab Jason Snelling (93 total yards, 1 TD) if he’s still available in free agency. Roddy White had 7 grabs for 98 yards and Tony Gonzalez had 6 for 67, but neither player was able to get into the end zone.

Chargers 31 - Eagles 23

With his 2 TDs on Sunday, LT jumped ahead of Marcus Allen to take third place in the record books for career TDs. He also ran for 96 yards which was his most in a home game since 2007. Philip Rivers tossed two scores of his own, along with 231 passing yards. Vincent Jackson was held to a single reception for 10 yards, but you shouldn’t even think about taking him out of your lineup. Antonio Gates had 7 catches for 78 yards and Malcolm Floyd had 3 catches for 45 yards. Floyd is worth a spot in deeper leagues as well as keeper leagues since it is clear that the Chargers are now a passing team, with Philip Rivers as their leader rather than LT.

The most telling stat from this game is Donovan McNabb’s 450 passing yards compared to his team’s 29 total rushing yards. Brian Westbrook suffered another concussion and, in my humble opinion, he should sit the rest of the year. If you have Westbrook, make contingency plans as you may not see him for the remainder of the season. Jason Avant, of all people, led the Eagles in receiving with 156 yards while DeSean Jackson had 8 catches for 91 yards. Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek each had 6 catches and a TD reception.

Packers 17 – Cowboys 7

When the Packers defense plays the way it did against Dallas, you can expect pedestrian offensive efforts as well. Aaron Rodgers threw for only 189 yards and 1 TD, though he did rush for a score. Ryan Grant ran for 79 yards but doesn’t appear to have the explosiveness that he displayed two years ago. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings had 50 and 45 receiving yards, respectively. The Packers are having trouble with the pass rush, so Driver’s intermediate routes are a much more viable option for Rodgers than Jennings’ deep routes. Driver should be rated higher than Jennings until the Packers O-line improves.

The Cowboys O was dominated by the Packers D in this game as both the running game and Miles Austin were shut down. None of the three Dallas running backs gained more than 26 yards, and Austin had only 20 yards on the day. Tony Romo threw for 251 yards and a late TD, but he also threw a pick and lost a fumble. The lone TD was scored by Roy Williams, who also managed 105 receiving yards on 5 receptions. From the looks of things over the past month, it appears that Austin and Williams can’t each have a big game in the same game. It’s either one or the other. I have more confidence in Austin than in Williams. Austin is still a WR1 while Williams is only a WR3. I really don’t know what to make of Jason Witten. It seems as though every week he’s catching 4-5 passes for around 45 yards. I still have faith in him--and you should, too--as he is still Romo’s favorite target in the red zone…even though he hasn’t scored a TD since Week 2.

Cardinals 31 – Seahawks 20

With his 2 TD passes on Sunday, Kurt Warner has now thrown for 200 TDs in his Hall-of-Fame career. He also threw for 340 yards as all three of his top receivers got into the action. Anquan Boldin had 8 for 105, Steve Breaston had 4 for 76, and Larry Fitzgerald had 7 for 73. Breaston and Fitzgerald also got into the end zone. Everyone knows Fitz is a WR1, but Breaston and even Boldin are WR3s. Boldin’s injuries are starting to catch up with him and he has almost no deep speed. Rookie Beanie Wells had the best game of his young career with 85 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Tim Hightower had 58 total yards, which included 5 receptions. Despite Wells’ two scores, Hightower still has a little more value due to the huge disparity in receptions between the two of them (Hightower has 45 on the season, Wells has 6).

The good news for Seattle this week is that they may have found their future running back. After Julius Jones left with an injury, Justin Forsett took over and ran for 123 yards and one score while catching five passes for 26 yards. It appears Jones will be out for some time, so grab Forsett while you can. Even when Jones returns, Forsett will still have value, especially in PPR leagues. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 315 yards and 1 TD with most of the yardage going to T.J. Houshmandzadeh (9 for 165). Housh hasn’t been quite what we expected him to be in Seattle, but this week’s game was a good sign that he and Hasselbeck are developing more of a rapport. The Seahawks’ leading receiver, Nate Burleson, went catchless for the first time this season. He was targeted five times, so Hasselbeck was definitely looking for him. Burleson remains a safe WR2 for next week.

Chiefs 16 – Raiders 10

As the score indicates, this was not an aesthetically-pleasing game. Jamaal Charles said, “Larry Who?” by rushing for 103 yards and a score. Todd Haley doesn’t like to run the ball all that much so don’t expect this type of performance too often, but Charles can be a serviceable RB3 for the remainder of the season. Matt Cassel did not throw a TD pass, but he did throw an INT and lost a fumble. The Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers tandem had 91 and 60 yards receiving, respectively.

The return of Darren McFadden (11 rushing yards) and Chaz Schilens (27 receiving yards) did not play out quite as anticipated. However, Michael Bush (119 rushing yards) and Justin Fargas (41 rushing yards, 1 TD) were able to provide some much-needed offensive punch. The RBBC all but eliminates any value for the Oakland backs, but Schilens is someone to keep an eye on. He is a big target and can actually catch--unlike Oakland’s other receivers. If you have an open roster spot it may be wise to take a chance on Schilens, who some see as a Vincent Jackson-clone.

Colts 35 - Patriots 34

Wow! That’s all I can say. I’m sure most of the people reading this saw the game last night so you pretty much know what happened. Peyton Manning did his thing with another 300+ yard, multi-TD game. Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 126 yards and 2 TDs, including the game winner. The Patriots held Dallas Clark in check as he “only” had 65 receiving yards. Despite a finger injury, Joseph Addai still managed to score 2 TDs and gain 68 total yards. The Colts are really struggling to run the ball, but Addai is a big factor in the passing game and receives lots of goal line carries. He can still be used as an RB2.

Tom Brady was Tom Terrific in throwing for 3 TDs and 375 yards (though I’m sure all of Boston thinks it should have been 376 yards). Randy Moss and Wes Welker each had 9 receptions. Welker went for 94 yards and Moss showed he still has 4.4 speed by going for 179 yards and 2 TDs. Laurence Maroney scored a rushing TD but also lost a fumble on the Colts’ one-yard line. Kevin Faulk had 79 rushing yards and caught 2 passes for 7 yards (though, again, Boston thinks it should have been 8 yards).

Posted on: November 3, 2009 1:53 pm

Fantasy Football: DC's weekly review

This is my first blog posting on CBS, because I just earned AS status. The following is a fantasy football review for week 8.

Texans 31 – Bills 10
After fumbling for the seventh time this season, Steve Slaton was finally benched in favor of Ryan Moats. Moats definitely made the most of his opportunity by gaining 151 total yards along with 3 TDs. Slaton, who only had one rushing yard on the day, won’t be completely removed from the offensive game plan, though his playing time will be significantly reduced in the coming weeks. Moats becomes the hottest waiver wire pick-up of the week and will be a flex option, at worst, over the coming weeks. Matt Schaub didn’t have his best day of the year: 0 TDs and 2 INTs. But he did throw for 268 yards even though his top receiving option, Andre Johnson (6 rec., 63 yards), was playing with a lung contusion and Owen Daniels (1 rec., 22 yards) left with a knee injury in the first quarter. Early reports suggest that Daniels tore a ligament, which would prematurely end his season. Wait for the MRI results before cutting Daniels loose; however, you should definitely start looking for another option at tight end.

Despite T.O. rushing for a touchdown for the first time in seven years, the Bills could not muster any other trips to the end zone as they fell to the Texans. Owens had 68 total yards (29 rushing, 39 receiving), but it was a quiet day for Buffalo’s other offensive stars. Marshawn Lynch had only 43 rushing yards, and Lee Evans only had 29 receiving yards. This was likely Ryan Fitzpatrick’s (117 yards, 2 INTs) last start, as Trent Edwards is expected back after next week’s bye. The fantasy value of Owens, Evans, and Lynch will go up slightly when Edwards returns, but Lynch should be the only Bill you even think about starting until Buffalo can manage to score more than two offensive touchdowns in a game (something they have failed to do in 2009).

Bears 30 – Browns 6
Two things I know about the Bears: they play well at home (3-0), and their stud QB throws a lot of INTs (1 today, 11 on the season). Jay Cutler (225 yards, 0 TDs) handed this game over to the rushing attack as the Bears ran over the Browns for 170 yards. Matt Forte had 90 yards on the ground, 31 through the air, and scored two touchdowns. Devin Hester led the receivers with 81 yards on seven receptions. Second-leading receiver Earl Bennett only had 29 receiving yards and has yet to score a TD this season. At best, he’s a WR4, and that’s only in PPR leagues.

Another game, another dreadful offensive performance for the Browns. There are only three Cleveland players you should even think about having on your fantasy team, and none of them had a particularly good game. Jamal Lewis rushed for 69 yards but hasn’t found the end zone in 360 days…seriously. Mohamed Massaquoi had 2 catches for 28 yards but also lost a fumble. Perhaps the most versatile player in the league, Josh Cribbs, had 51 yards from scrimmage along with 137 return yards.

Cowboys 38 – Seahawks 17
The Cowboys offense appears to be firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 10 TDs over the last three games. For the first time in his career, Tony Romo (256 yards, 3 TDs) has gone interception-free for three games in a row. Miles Austin was their top receiver again, with 61 yards and a score. Not only is he now the #1 receiver in Big D, he is also a fantasy WR1. Roy Williams also caught a TD pass but dropped a couple of easy catches, which drew boos from the Dallas fans. He’s too inconsistent to be a reliable starter at this point. Jason Witten only had 36 receiving yards and failed to get into the endzone for the sixth time in seven games. It’s hard to explain his disappearance in the red zone, but I’m sure one of these weeks he and Romo will hook up for a couple of scores in a game. Witten remains a must-start. Marion Barber had 53 rushing yards and a score, and Felix Jones had 69 yards from scrimmage.

Matt Hasselbeck looked sharp while passing for 2 TDs and 249 yards, but it simply wasn’t enough to keep up with the Cowboys. Nate Burleson had 89 receiving yards and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 24 yards. But it was the #3 receiver, Deion Branch, who found the end zone for his first score of the season. Injuries have made Branch a shell of his former self and he should not be in your lineup unless you’re desperate. Julius Jones struggled running the ball but still finished with 88 yards from scrimmage; however, he has not scored a rushing touchdown since Week 1.

Rams 17 – Lions 10
Even though this win was over the lowly Lions, St. Louis will gladly take it and avoid going winless as Detroit did last year. Steven Jackson was a beast again with 149 rushing yards and a score. Imagine what he could do with some talent around him. Donnie Avery only had a single reception for 15 yards as Marc Bulger managed to struggle against the worst pass defense in the league. Bulger completed less than 50% of his passes, threw an INT, and did not throw a TD. He is not fantasy material.

Matt Stafford returned from injury with less than glamorous results (168 yards, 1 INT) as he struggled even more than Bulger. However, Stafford has two excuses: one, he’s a rookie; two, he was playing without his favorite receiver, Calvin Johnson (knee). Stafford did score a rushing TD, which salvaged some of his fantasy value. Kevin Smith contributed 94 total yards but had ankle issues throughout the game. He may be limited in practice during the week but should be a go next Sunday.

Ravens 30 – Broncos 7
This was the kind of performance Baltimore needed in order to reassert its claim as a physical team. Ray Rice is becoming the next Maurice Jones-Drew, as he racked up 108 total yards and a score. He’s gone from a flex play at the start of the season, to a RB1 in a few short weeks. Joe Flacco (175 yards, 1 TD) took a back seat to Rice in this game, but he did find Derrick Mason up the seam for a TD. Mason finished with 40 yards on four receptions. Willis McGahee, who exceeded expectations with 7 TDs through the first four games, now has only 8 total yards from scrimmage over the last three games. Not only he is no longer a reliable source of TDs, he is not even a reliable source of yardage. He should be benched until he consistently regains his early-season form.

Faced with an assortment of blitzes, Kyle Orton never hit the groove that he’s found in the first six games of the season. He threw for only 152 yards with no touchdowns. Brandon Marshall only had 24 receiving yards, but he remains a must-start at WR. Someone who is not a must-start is Eddie Royal, who had 10 yards on two receptions. If you take away the New England game, Royal has only 10 receptions for 68 yards on the season. That lack of production should land him deep on your bench. Knowshon Moreno scored the lone TD for Denver but he also lost a fumble. Correll Buckhalter chipped in with 48 total yards but it’s clear he is the #2 back in Denver, though he does have flex potential in PPR leagues.

Colts 18 - 49ers 14
This was one of those tough, gritty games that great teams manage to win, and that’s exactly what the Colts did on Sunday. Reggie Wayne scored Indy’s lone TD, as he shook off last week’s injury to catch 12 passes for 147 yards. The TD was thrown by former high school QB Joseph Addai, who also rushed for 62 yards. Peyton Manning did not throw a TD for the first time since November of last year, but he did throw for 347 yards. Dallas Clark had 99 receiving yards and remains the best fantasy option at tight end this season.

Though Alex Smith lost both games he’s played in this year, he has been an upgrade over Shaun Hill. Smith, who had 198 passing yards and 1 TD, looked often to fellow lineup newcomer Michael Crabtree. Crabtree caught 6 passes for 81 yards but also lost a fumble. Vernon Davis caught another TD pass to give him a league-leading seven on the year. That’s right: Vernon Davis is leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Frank Gore proved he’s back to form by rushing for a 64 yard TD. He finished the day with 134 yards from scrimmage.

Dolphins 30 – Jets 25
Though the Dolphins scored 30 points, only one touchdown came by way of the offense. In fact, the offense was pretty much shut down as Miami only gained 52 yards rushing and 52 yards passing. Ronnie Brown had only 27 rushing yards and Ricky Williams had 68 total yards. Joey Haynos scored the lone offensive TD on a pass from Chad Henne (112 yards, 1 TD).

Even with Thomas Jones cracking 100 rushing yards (102) for the third game in a row, and Mark Sanchez throwing for 265 yards and 2 TDs, the Jets could not overcome Miami’s three kick-return TDs (two by Ted Ginn, Jr.). Dustin Keller (8 for 76) and Braylon Edwards (4 for 74) each had a TD grab, and Jerricho Cotchery returned from injury with 70 yards. Shonn Greene, who is now the #2 back with Leon Washington done for the season, disappointed his owners with only 18 rushing yards. He also lost a fumble and did not contribute in the passing game. Greene is not the dual threat that Washington was, but he should be able to provide production through the ground game later this season. If he’s still available in your league, you should pick him up and stash him on your bench.

Eagles 40 – Giants 17
The Raiders loss seems to have re-invigorated the Eagles, as they dominated the Giants in all facets of the game. Donovan McNabb had a stellar game with 240 passing yards and 3 TDs--one each to his top three receivers: DeSean Jackson (3 for 78), Brent Celek (4 for 61), and Jeremy Maclin (4 for 47). With Brian Westbrook out, LeSean McCoy and fullback Leonard Weaver picked up the slack. They each scored a rushing touchdown and McCoy led the way with 82 rushing yards. Weaver had 75 rushing yards on eight carries, but don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence, even if Westbrook misses another game. Weaver had only four rushing attempts coming into this game and is primarily a blocker, with occasional short-yardage opportunities.

The Giants, formerly known as the “Road Warriors”, have now lost their last two games away from Giants Stadium. Eli Manning struggled throughout the game and threw two picks, compared to just one touchdown. You have to wonder if he’s fully healthy from that heel injury he suffered against Kansas City. Manning has thrown 6 INTs over his last three games and if you have another option next week, it may be wise to sit Eli. The Giants will take on the Chargers in Week 9, and San Diego has allowed fewer than 360 passing yards TOTAL over the last three games. They have also picked off four passes and sacked the QB 10 times during that span. Steve Smith had 8 receptions but they only went for 68 yards. Kevin Boss led the way with 70 yards, along with New York’s lone receiving TD. Brandon Jacobs had 107 total yards on the day, and Ahmad Bradshaw, battling a foot injury, had 21 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Titans 30 - Jaguars 10
Even though Vince Young’s numbers won’t wow anyone (125 yards passing, 1 TD, 30 yard rushing), his mere presence seemed to inspire the Titans to get their first win of the season. Oh, and Chris Johnson had a pretty good day. Johnson had 228 rushing yards and 2 scores. It was Johnson’s career-high in rushing and his second game this year with over 200 yards from scrimmage. Nate Washington caught Tennessee’s lone passing TD and finished with 22 receiving yards.

Not even Maurice Jones-Drew’s Herculean effort could propel the Jaguars to a win. MJD had 2 rushing TDs and 177 yards on only eight carries, to finish with a staggering 22.1 yards per rush. David Garrard struggled mightily against a team that was giving up the most passing yards in the league coming into this game. Garrard threw for only 139 yards, along with 2 INTs. Mike Sims-Walker was averaging 7 receptions and almost 100 yards per game over his last four, but he only came down with two receptions for 9 yards versus Tennessee. Torry Holt didn’t fare much better as he only had 17 yards on two receptions.

Chargers 24 – Raiders 16
It was tougher than expected, but the Chargers got what they wanted: Their thirteenth straight win over Oakland. LaDainian Tomlinson also got what he (and LT owners) wanted: 2 TDs, along with 56 rushing yards. Philip Rivers threw for 249 yards and one score to his favorite target, Vincent Jackson (8 for 103, 1 TD). Antonio Gates had 49 receiving yards and Malcolm Floyd had 64 yards. Floyd started in place of Chris Chambers who has been demoted to the #3 receiver. Though now a starter, Floyd won’t get as many opportunities as you would expect from a typical starter. He is fifth in the Chargers pecking order, behind LT, Gates, Jackson, and Darren Sproles (46 total yards, 1 fumble lost).

JaMarcus Russell barely deserves mentioning, since he isn’t even fringe fantasy material. Justin Fargas scored the only Raiders TD and finished with 79 total yards. Even when Darren McFadden returns, Fargas and Michael Bush will still receive touches, which means fantasy owners will hear the most dreaded of terms: Running-back-by-committee. Zach Miller had 52 receiving yards but should be a starter only in PPR formats because of his lack of scoring opportunities (Oakland only has 6 touchdowns through 8 games).

Panthers 34 – Cardinals 21
With the Panthers rushing for 270 yards, Jake Delhomme didn’t have to do much (7/14, 90 yards, 1 TD). DeAngelo Williams picked up most of his 158 yards between the 20s and Jonathan Stewart cleaned up in the red zone (87 yards, 2 TDs). Steve Smith scored the Panther’s lone passing TD as CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie bit on a pump-fake and Smith sped past him. It was Smith’s first TD of the year and he finished with 56 yards. Despite his QB struggling this year, Smith is too explosive to keep on your bench. He should be started as a WR3 until Delhomme can find his groove, or Matt Moore takes the reins at QB.

In a reversal of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game, Kurt Warner was the one to throw 5 INTs this time…though a couple of them weren’t his fault. Warner became the first QB to throw at least 14,000 yards for two teams, but I don’t think he will remember that milestone come Monday. None of the Cardinals fantasy receivers got into the end zone, but Larry Fitzgerald led the way in receiving with 66 yards. Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston had 23 yards and 57 yards respectively. Tim Hightower had 96 total yards and a rushing score, and Beanie Wells had 47 rushing yards.

Vikings 38 – Packers 26
“It’s just one of sixteen”…yeah right, Brett. Favre broadcast his emotions, in returning to Lambeau, into 4 TDs (his first 4-TD game as a Viking). Favre is now tied with Matt Schaub for most TD passes (16) and could become the oldest player to win the MVP award. Adrian Peterson was solid both through the air and on the ground as he had 44 receiving yards and rushed for 97 yards with a TD. Percy Harvin (5 for 84), Bernard Berrian (3 for 47), and Visanthe Shiancoe (1 for 12) all caught touchdown passes. Sidney Rice was often double-covered and finished with 40 receiving yards on four receptions.

Imagine how good the Packers could be if they only had a decent O-line. Aaron Rodgers was sacked six times (that’s 14 in two games vs. Minnesota) but still managed to throw for 287 yards and 3 TDs. He also led the team in rushing with 52 yards. Not only do the Green Bay O-linemen struggle to pass block, they struggle to run block. Ryan Grant only had 30 rushing yards and was tackled behind the LOS three times on his 10 carries. Grant has only a single 100-yard rushing game this year, with no multi-score games, but remains a RB2 due to his being one of the few workhorses left in the league. Greg Jennings caught 8 passes for 88 yards and a TD. Those were the most passes he’s caught in a game this year and it was his first touchdown since Week 1. Donald Driver had 63 receiving yards. Driver and Jennings are both must-starts next week vs. Tampa Bay, who has given up 16 receiving TDs this season.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com