Fantasy Football Applaud or a Fraud – Week 4

Each week, we dive into the stat sheets to see which weekly performers fantasy owners should applaud and which fantasy owners should write off as frauds. We’ve also included some key injury replacements in this post. You can read past applaud or a fraud analyses in the category listing. And if we’re changing a past recommendation, we’ll include it here as well. On we go…

Quarterbacks

Derek Anderson, Browns – Last week, we called Anderson a fraud – and who wouldn’t after his three-interception half. But Anderson injected at least a little life into the previously comatose Browns’ offense, and his numbers (269 yards, one passing TD and one rushing TD) look better on fantasy scoresheets than he looks on the field. Don’t go starting him, but Anderson is at least ownable in most leagues. This is applause at the volume of a third of a golf clap is, but it is a clap. Verdict: Applaud

Kerry Collins, Titans – Collins had a monster game against Jacksonville, but don’t buy it. For one, the Jags’ pass defense is sorry. For two, Collins lit up the Jags last year as well. And for three, if the Titans keep losing they’ll have to turn to Vince Young soon. So look at Collins’ 284-yard, one-TD day – and then pass on him. Verdict: A fraud

Matthew Stafford, Lions – Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, had his first really good fantasy day, throwing for 296 yards and a touchdown. But he hurt his knee later in the game, and with an MRI scheduled today, it’s just not the time to add Stafford to your fantasy roster. Verdict: A fraud

Running backs

Rashad Jennings, Jaguars – The rookie from Liberty, who is Maurice Jones-Drew’s primary backup, had 53 rushing yards on nine carries. But this is a garbage-time line dictated by game situation and not a sign that Jennings is getting more of a look in the offense. If you own MoJo, Jennings is worth a roster spot as injury insurance. Otherwise, he’s not roster worthy except in massive leagues (18 teams or more). Verdict: A fraud

Jerome Harrison, Browns – Last week, we told you that Harrison was a fraud, because we didn’t trust the Browns’ offense. But a couple of things have changed. First, rookie James Davis went on IR, which makes Harrison the only backup to Jamal Lewis. And the insertion of Derek Anderson into the starting lineup provided a little more offensive punch that opened up the running game a little. The results against Cincinnati were a surprising 121-yard game for Harrison. Harrison still isn’t a great starting option, but as long as Jamal Lewis is hurt, he’s now ownable. Verdict: Applaud

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – With Willie Parker out, Mendenhall had a huge game against the Chargers Sunday night (165 rushing yards and two TD). Here’s why you should approach him with caution. First, Mendenhall has not yet shown the ability to be a fantasy contributor with limited touches. So when Parker’s in, Mendenhall needs to be out of your lineup. Secondly, the Chargers are terrible vs. interior running now with Jamal Williams out, and that was a perfect fit with what Mendenhall had to do. Mendenhall is definitely worth owning, but I would be slow to start him unless Parker is inactive again. Verdict: A fraud

Ryan Moats, Texans – Just as Rashad Jennings’ 53-yard performance was dictated by garbage time, Moats’ 53 yards was a result of the Texans’ easy win over the Raiders. Plus, the fact that it took Moats 15 carries to rush for 53 yards shows he’s not ownable, even if you are looking for Steve Slaton insurance. Verdict: A fraud

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – Moreno scored the Broncos’ first touchdown vs. the Cowboys on a nine-yard catch and also had 65 rushing yards. But as we said in our Cowboys/Broncos thoughts post, the fact that Moreno has to share time with Buckhalter makes him a tough start for fantasy owners. Moreno is good enough to be a fantasy starter, but his offensive role right now limits his value. He’s a flex play at best. Remember that disclaimer as you hear this applause. Verdict: Applaud

Ray Rice, Ravens – Rice was a hot name before the season, but because he has yet to score a touchdown, you might wonder about starting him in fantasy leagues. His 103-yard performance against the Patriots should tell you enough to know that he is a top-2 fantasy running back except in touchdown-only leagues. Verdict: Applaud

Wide receivers

Kenny Britt, Titans – In the Titans’ blowout loss in Jacksonville, first-round pick Britt passed the century mark for the first time in his career with seven catches for 105 yards. Even with Nate Washington back, Britt is still getting plenty of chances in the Titans’ offense, and he now has 17 catches for 271 yards on the season. Britt isn’t a starting-caliber fantasy wideout, but he’s getting enough looks now to project as a 50-catch receiver, which is quite good for a rookie and adequate for fantasy owners in larger leagues (15 teams or more). So if you’re in one of those leagues, Britt is now a prospect for a claim. Verdict: Applaud

Austin Collie, Colts – Collie, a rookie out of Brigham Young, caught his first career touchdown against the Seahawks in the midst of a six-catch, 65-yard day. Collie and Pierre Garcon are filling the role opened by Anthony Gonzalez’ injury, although they play different spots. Garcon plays outside, while Collie is a specialist in the slot. Garcon (who had 71 yards receiving this week) is still the receiver that’s the best fill-in for your fantasy team, although Collie’s development is worth watching. Once Gonzalez returns, though, Collie will quickly pass Garcon in fantasy value this year. So if you’re in a larger league, it might be worth it to go ahead and grab Collie. This is very mild applause, but just in case, we’ll clap. Verdict: Applaud

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – Houshmandzadeh hadn’t done much in his first season in Seattle before grabbing eight catches for 103 yards against Indianapolis. Those numbers came in a blowout, which is always a warning sign for receivers. But it is now safe to say that Houshmandzadeh is healthy enough to contribute after some early season bumps and bruises. Still, T.J. isn’t the top-20 fantasy receiver he was expected to be before the season, and that means he’s not an automatic starter in your league. Don’t drop him, but don’t start him until we see a repeat of Sunday’s performance. Verdict: A fraud

Sam Hurd, Cowboys – The Cowboys’ receiving corps is painfully thin, and that means that different players will jump up with impressive numbers in a single game, as Hurd did with three catches for 62 yards against Denver. But it would be foolhardy to expect consistent returns like this from Hurd (or Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin, for that matter). Stay away. Verdict: A fraud

Brandon Marshall, Broncos – We talked in our Cowboys/Broncos post about why none of the Broncos’ receivers are the fantasy threats they were last year. Marshall is an elite talent who’s not getting elite opportunity, and that’s why he’s a marginal starter in most leagues at this point. It’s a shame, but we can’t recommend Marshall as much more than a flex play at this point. For most owners that drafted Marshall, that’s a disappointment. Verdict: A fraud

Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns – The out-of-nowhere fantasy performance Sunday came from Massaquoi, the rookie from Georgia who had eight catches for 148 yards. The second-round pick in April’s draft has good size and speed, but he had just two catches in the first three games of the season. Still, with Derek Anderson coming into the lineup, the Browns seemed to have a little more offensive punch, and it’s reasonable to think that Massaquoi could benefit from that. He’s worth a flier claim in larger leagues (12 teams or more) just to see what happens over the next few weeks. Verdict: Applaud

Hakeem Nicks, Giants – Nicks, who had been sidelined with a foot injury, returned and had a 54-yard touchdown catch vs. the Chiefs. But it was Nicks’ only catch of the game, and he’s still no better than the third-best Giants’ wideout. So while we should congratulate Nicks on a big play, fantasy owners shouldn’t pick him up. Verdict: A fraud

Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars – Two weeks ago, we told you to claim Sims-Walker. After Sunday’s seven-catch, 91-yard, two-TD performance Sunday, we’re now telling you that he should start in leagues of 12 teams or more. He’s the No. 1 receiving option in Jacksonville. Verdict: Applaud

Steve Smith, Giants – Smith didn’t get a lot of preseason respect, and he ended up being outside the top 40 on many lists of wide receivers. But he’s clearly the best fantasy option among the Giants’ wide receivers, and his production Sunday  against the Chiefs (11 catches, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns) signaled his emergence as a legitimate fantasy starter. If you took a shot on Smith, congrats. You’re being rewarded with an every-week starter. Verdict: Applaud

Tight ends

Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – The only rookie tight end of note had a nice day agains the Bears, catching four passes for 64 yards. Pettigrew is a solid tight end who’s as good blocking as receiving, and he’ll be a big part of the Lions’ offense going forward. But there are so many good tight ends out there that we can’t recommend picking up Pettigrew in fantasy leagues. He’s not going to be a top-15 tight end this year. But if you’re in a league where you can keep several players, keep an eye on Pettigrew to see if he shows signs of becoming more of a force in 2010 and beyond. Verdict: A fraud

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Applaud/A Fraud, Fantasy Football, Football Relativity

2 responses to “Fantasy Football Applaud or a Fraud – Week 4

  1. Im going to have to disagree with 2 things in this article. Derrick Anderson and Stafford. I think you got those 2 reversed. Watching the Bears game this week, I really saw why they took Stafford No. 1. While I agree he is not a pro bowler by any means, he has much more of the tools than Anderson does to having a good year. (IE Calvin Johnson)
    Great post!

  2. rn575

    that’s definitely a close call, but I still think I’d take Anderson for the rest of ’09. After that, it’s Stafford for sure. But if people are interested in Anderson, this week is probably the week you’ll have to grab him if he’s going to turn out to be good.
    Thanks for the comment and the compliment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s