Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Fantasy Football Applaud or a Fraud – Week 8

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. 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.

Quarterbacks

Marc Bulger, Rams – Bulger is back healthy again, and he led the Rams to their first win of the year. But he’s not going to lead your fantasy team anywhere throwing for 176 yards without a touchdown. He’s back – so what. Verdict: A fraud

Matthew Stafford, Lions – Stafford returned to the lineup against the Rams, but his first game back didn’t lead to big numbers or a win. With just 168 passing yards, Stafford was a fantasy disappointment. That’s probably going to remain the case over the rest of the season. Stafford’s a talent, but he’s not seasoned enough to help fantasy owners yet. Verdict: A fraud

Vince Young, Titans– Young made his triumphant return to the lineup actually triumphant, leading the Titans to their first win of the season. His fantasy numbers weren’t great – 125 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and 30 rushing yards. But his completion percentage (15-of-18) was good, and that’s a good sign. Young’s not ready to contribute to a starting lineup right now, but he has a little potential. It’s enough to make him a waiver claim in larger fantasy leagues of 12 teams or more. That will earn him very reserved applause. Verdict: Applaud

Running Backs

Matt Forte, Bears – Forte has been the most disappointing fantasy first-round pick this season, but he came back with a big game against the Browns this week. But don’t let that performance of two touchdowns and 121 yards from scrimmage serve as a panacea. Forte’s two best games of the season have happened against the Browns and Lions, which is not a good sign against real-live NFL teams. Forte is not worth dropping (as one person in a small league I play in did), but be careful about starting him on a weekly basis. And because he’s not a shoo-in starter, we have to give him a thumbs-down right now. Verdict: A fraud

Jamal Lewis, Browns – Lewis’ injury problems and terrible team left him on the waiver wire of many leagues. He’s not a great fantasy performer – 69 yards on 16 carries against Chicago is about as much as you can expect – but it is a reminder that he is worth owning in leagues with a normal-sized bench. This is just a smattering, but still… Verdict: Applaud

Ryan Moats, Texans – Steve Slaton’s persistent fumbling problems caused the Texans to bench their starter midway through the game against Buffalo, and Moats stepped in to have a ridiculous game with 126 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Who knows what the Texans will do with Moats going forward, but the amount of upside he showed in the Texans’ prolific offense is enough reason to sprint to the waiver wire to claim him. Moats isn’t just a cause celebre in cruel hospital cop episode anymore; he’s this week’s best fantasy pickup. Verdict: Applaud

Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Stewart has had a good season from a yards-per-carry basis this year, but he has rarely found the end zone. That changed at Arizona this week as he had two touchdowns along with his 87 yards on 17 carries. While you can’t count on Stewart scoring twice every week, Sunday’s line is a reminder that Stewart is still a pretty good flex option most weeks. Verdict: Applaud

Leonard Weaver, Eagles – Just about every fantasy-relevant Eagle (save the concussed Brian Westbrook) scored against the Giants this week, but the first to score was Weaver, the team’s fullback. Not only did he have a 41-yard touchdown run; he actually piled up 75 rushing yards. Weaver is a fullback, which limits his fantasy value, but he always seemed to end up with three or four touchdowns a year in his previous home in Seattle. So you can’t think of Weaver as a pickup in most leagues, but in massive leagues (16 teams or more) he should be on your radar. We can’t clap for that limited a fantasy market, but we wanted to at least note Weaver’s meager value. Verdict: A fraud

Wide Receivers

Keenan Burton, Rams – Burton had five catches for 54 yards for the Rams this week. There are so few targets in St. Louis that we’ve seen guys like Burton and Danny Almendola pop up on the weekly stat leader sheets each week. The thing is that they pop right back off that list. So don’t waste a claim on Burton this week. Verdict: A fraud

Percy Harvin, Vikings – Harvin continues to be a reliable option for Brett Favre, and that is paying off for fantasy owners. He scored his fifth touchdown of the year as he had five catches for 84 yards and a score against Green Bay. Harvin is a top-30 receiver in leagues where his return touchdowns count, which is pretty high status indeed for a rookie receiver. Verdict: Applaud

Greg Jennings, Packers – Jennings has been a big-time fantasy disappointment this year, but he did bounce back against his former teammate Brett Favre’s Vikings Sunday with eight catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Jennings isn’t the top-8 fantasy wideout that he was drafted to be, but he is a top 20 wideout still, and that makes him a weekly starter. For that, we’ll clap. Verdict: Applaud

Terrell Owens, Bills – Owens scored just his second touchdown of the season Sunday on a 29-yard run. That’s a boon to anyone who is still starting Owens, but the bottom line is that no one should still be putting T.O. in their lineup on a weekly basis. If this blip on the scoring radar helps you get a little more in a deal for Owens, do it, because he’s not a starter moving forward. Verdict: A fraud

Mike Thomas, Jaguars – Thomas, one of the Jags’ many rookie receivers, had a nice game against Tennessee with four catches for 55 yards. That’s not enough for us to recommend that you claim Thomas, but it is enough for us to note him. He’s a guy to watch in the next couple of weeks to see if he starts to emerge with a bigger role in the offense. Verdict: A fraud

Tight Ends

Kevin Boss, Giants – Boss caught his first TD pass of the season against the Eagles Sunday, and it was the first TD pass from Eli Manning to a non-wideout this year. Boss is a decent receiver, but he’s not a good enough receiver to have big upside  over the rest of the season. He’s a top 16 tight end, but only barely. So unless you’re in a massive league, pass over Boss. Verdict: A fraud

Spencer Havner, Packers – When I first looked up Havner in the NFL.com database, he was listed as a linebacker. But this ‘backer has three touchdowns over the past two weeks for the Pack. That scoring spree matches up with Jermichael Finley’s injury. It’s hard to see Havner as a serious fantasy option given that he has just four catches over the past two weeks, but with three of those grabs going for touchdowns, Havner’s a guy to consider as a bye-week fill-in Week 9. Verdict: Applaud

Dustin Keller, Jets – Keller has had a bit of a disappointing season, but he broke out against the Dolphins with eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown this Sunday. Keller is on bye this weekend, and he’s still going to be up and down, but this game gives hope that he has some more fantasy production left in his season. Verdict: Applaud

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Rise/Sink/Float Week 8

Each Monday, we’ll look at 3 teams that are rising, sinking, and floating in our Football Relativity comparison. We’ll update the full comparison tomorrow.

Rise – Carolina Panthers – The Panthers aren’t a great team, but they were motivated to exact revenge on the Cardinals after last year’s playoff disaster. This win moves the Panthers to 3-4, and it’s still conceivable they could save their season from this point. Even better for them, Julius Peppers showed up big in this game. We can’t completely write Carolina off now, and that means they climb a step up the ladder now.

Sink – New York Giants – We thought it was just a blip, but now the Giants have lost three straight games, including an embarassing 40-17 loss to division-rival Philly Sunday. The defensive injuries to players like Kenny Phillips have taken a toll. Right now, it’s impossible to consider the Giants a championship-caliber team.

Float – San Francisco 49ers – We can’t give an upgrade for a moral victory, but even in their fourth straight loss the Niners showed they can still play with the league’s good teams. The Niners need a win and soon, but they are still good enough to make a run at 9-7 and a playoff berth.

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