Friday, October 31, 2008

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers - 10/31

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers
Our thoughts on some possible undervalued and overvalued players...

Updated October 31, 2008  JunkyardJake.Com

Derrick Ward ,RB

While Brandon Jacobs is clearly the vice president in charge of running over people for the NY Giants running game department, it's hard to ignore the level of involvement assumed by Derrick Ward. Certainly in the area of catching the ball, Ward has a clear advantage over Jacobs, and he usually gets about 30% of the total rushing carries. Ward could be especially useful as a receiver over the next three weeks when the Giants play Dallas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, as these teams have not been friendly to opposing running games. Of course the other reason to like Derrick Ward, is that he gets to run behind one of the best offensive lines in league. In fact, after they retire in 5-6 years, I nominate the Giants offensive line to take over security on the Canada - United States border, if anyone can keep those pesky Canadians out of the country, it is the NY Giants offensive line. (Just kidding, we love you Canada)

Zach Miller ,TE

The 2008 Oakland Raiders don't exhibit anything that could classified as a 'passing game' by any traditional definition of the phrase, but when they do try to throw the ball, their most consistent threat seems to TE Zach Miller. Miller is a smart player with great hands who knows how to find voids in the defense, and usually ends up with 5-6 targets per game. While 5 targets per game doesn't sound like the makings of a fantasy bonanza, in the context of the Oakland passing game, it's good enough to make Miller the leading receiver. Of course, the other pleasantly unique attributes that Miller offers, is 1) unlike Javon Walker, you won't find him balancing his checkbook on the the sideline during a game, and 2) unlike Ronald Curry, he usually catches the ball when it is thrown at him. The Raiders have one of the most favorable remaining schedules against the pass this year, and Miller is certainly worth a shot, especially in the next two weeks against Atlanta and Carolina.

Kevin Curtis ,WR

Predicting what will happen with the Philadelphia Eagles offense from week to week is about as easy as predicting which window of your car will be busted and which personal items will be missing from your car after parking in North Philly for the annual 'Shout Random Cusswords at a Uniformed Officer' weekend. Despite their lack of consistency, Curtis and the Eagles passing offense are intriguing because Donovan McNabb is still a damn good quarterback, and now DeSean Jackson represents a new legitimate distraction for opposing defenses. This should mean that Kevin Curtis will be able to produce a few big games in the 2nd half of the season. These big games will probably happen at unexpected times of course, but he should be worthy of #3 fantasy receiver consideration in the other weeks too, unlike the generally useless Reggie Brown.

Trent Edwards/Lee Evans ,QB/WR

It's too early to proclaim that Trent Edwards is the new Jim Kelly without the unsightly razor stubble, but he has sure looked damn good so far. He has yet to break through with a multiple TD game, but he's completed about 70% of his passes, and consistently connected with his best offensive weapon, Lee Evans. This is a positive development, because it seems that Evans would disappear for stretches in previous seasons, averaging 2 catches for 20 yards right after a 190 yard 2 TD game.

Of course, Evans has never had any problem getting open, or streaking past a defense. In fact, Lee Evans is probably fast enough to run past many NFL defensive backs, leaving himself enough time in most cases to build a campfire in the endzone before the free safety catches up. Unfortunately there is no fantasy statistic that accounts for this very useful talent, and his consistency this season has been far more useful for fantasy purposes.

Torry Holt ,WR

It had to happen eventually, but it certainly appears that the great Torry Holt is slowing down, and over the past couple weeks has begun to be overshadowed by emerging star Donnie Avery. Holt is still worth hanging onto for sentimental reasons, and will probably continue to perform as a fair #2 or good #3 fantasy receiver, but certainly if you could work out a trade of some sort to fill a hole in your roster, you may be better off. We have all been in that league where one of the owners was just thawed out after being cybergenically frozen in 1997. You know the guy, he is still listening to Smash Mouth and Coolio on his Walkman and is fully expecting Torry Holt to bounceback and finish this year with a 'greatest show on turf' flurry. Trade Holt to this guy for Matt Forte or Eddie Royal.

Ahman Green/Steve Slaton ,RB

Steve Slaton has indeed started off his career with flair, and it looks like he has the potential to be a very productive runningback, despite possessing the same approximate height and weight dimensions of Wesley Snipes. That said, it might be wise to leave Slaton on the bench for the next two weeks when the Texans play Minnesota in week 9, and then Baltimore in week 10. Another issue that has diluted Slaton's value somewhat, is the Texans persistant and inexplicable policy of continuing to use Ahman Green. Of course, Green's availability is always tenuous at best due to his fragile nature, but hopefully after Houston gets past it's scheduling rough patch we will find that Mr. Green has finally retired to pursue the figure skating career that he has been postponing. Then Steve Slaton can assume his deserved role as a full-time starter.

Cedric Benson ,RB

Ok, so it looks like this past week against the Houston Texans may have been the window of opportunity to use Cedric Benson for fantasy purposes, and quite possibly the window slammed on your fingers if you were expecting more than 7 points from our favorite party girl, who still hasn't figured out how to pass block. After this week against the Jaguars, the Bengals have their week 10 bye, and then proceed to crank up that potent offense of theirs against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Just say 'no' to any part of the Bengals offense for the next month is kind of what it looks like.

Derek Anderson/Donte Stallworth QB,WR

For Derek Anderson to keep the Mighty-Brady Quinn on the bench, he will probably need to have more than one productive game a month. Anderson has obviously been horrendous so far this year, and if you subtract his 310 yard, 2 TD game against the Giants in week 6, he has completed only 46% of his passes, and produced an average 135 yards per game. The Browns could bring back Tim Couch to do that shnizzle%$#.

While we are picking on the Browns, as if that's been difficult (almost ever), did they actually look at Donte Stallworth's illustrious resume before signing him this offseason? The only consistent thing about Stallworth, is that it will be virtually assured that he will miss about 8 games a season, 2 for injuries, and then the other six usually the result of getting lost coming out of the tunnel before the game. Years from now, scientists will finally realize that it is not paranormal/alien activity that explains crop circles, it has been been Donte Stallworth running around on football fields pretending to be an NFL receiver.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers - 10/11

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers
Our thoughts on some possible undervalued and overvalued players...

Updated October 11, 2008  JunkyardJake.Com

Jason Campbell ,QB

Despite the fact that the blitz-crazy Eagles were swarming all over Jason Campbell like flies on potato salad at the company picnic, he once again remained poised, and turned in yet another winning performance. Granted, 176 passing yards and 0 TDs didn't help you from a fantasy perspective this week, but stop your whining, because Campbell should definitely improve on those numbers against St. Louis, Cleveland and Detroit over the next three weeks. Although there was originally some concern about Jason Campbell in terms of his ability to run Washington's new timing offense, he has adjusted quickly, still has not thrown an interception, and looks like he could be on the verge of a breakout seaon.

Brandon Stokley/Daniel Graham ,WR/TE

With Eddie Royal (ankle) possibly out until after the Broncos week 8 bye, and Jay Cutler on pace to throw 2,700 passes this season, it seems that Brandon Stokley should have some immediate value. Even with Eddie Royal starting at the #2 spot, Stokley has been a consistent contributor, with 32 targets (about 6 per game) for the Broncos, so he seems like a safe bet. If you feel the need to get a little adventurous, TE Tony Scheffler left Denver's week 5 contest with a groin injury, so it is possible that Daniel Graham could emerge from relative obscurity to provide fantasy points at the TE spot in the near term.

Bobby Engram ,WR

Hey check it out, Bobby 'Mr. Excitement' Engram is back for Seattle ! and yes, that is probably the most egregiously inappropriate use of the moniker 'Mr. Excitement' since it was used sardonically by the producer of Meet the Press to describe Dick Cheney before his last appearance on that show. While Engram is certainly not someone who is going to light up the fantasy scoreboard, he is probably worth picking up if you need a bye week replacement over the next few weeks. Sadly enough, the 35-year old Engram is probably the most reliable receiving option the Seahawks have right now. This is especially true since Deion Branch injured himself again in week 5 (wow, that's a shocker) and TE John Carlson apparently decided to take a rookie mental vacation this past week against the Giants, finishing with zero catches.

Laurence Maroney/Sammy Morris ,RB

Ok, let's see if we can get this New England runningback situation straight. We have career backup Sammy Morris masquerading as the implied starter over last years most effective rusher Laurence Maroney. Then we mix in some token carries from LaMont Jordan to remind us why we signed him off the free agent scrap heap, and then we use the fear-provoking 5 foot 8 Kevin Faulk at the goalline to assert our scoring authority. Makes perfect sense. Laurence Maroney is still the only RB worth holding onto in this mess, but he obviously can't be used for fantasy purposes until the Patriot RB rotation becomes a little less perplexing.

Reggie Williams/Jerry Porter ,WR

Aside from the apparently rehabilitated Matt 'Magic Mushroom' Jones, who has been surprisingly focused so far, poor David Garrard isn't getting much help from anybody else in the Jaguars passing game. Of course, offensive line injuries and the inability to consistently run the ball hasn't helped matters, but it also seems that Jacksonville hasn't had a reliable deep threat since Jimmy Smith retired. Reggie Williams is about as slow as the line at the DMV, and Jerry Porter, who returned this past week to catch one pass for 6 yards, currently leads the league in lethargic lollygagging.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers 10/4

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers
Our thoughts on some possible undervalued and overvalued players...

Updated October 4, 2008  JunkyardJake.Com

Mewelde Moore ,RB

If you blinked, you missed the debut of the much-heralded rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall this past Monday night. Unfortunately, in the midst of a nondescript nine carries for 30 yards performance, Mendenhall fractured his shoulder, and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. The rookie is still worth holding onto in keeper formats, because he has the potential to be a very good RB. However, keeping with the theme of trying to win this year, Mewelde Moore is a great guy to pickup in the current week. Although Moore is not known for his raw speed, he is a shifty back who has shown natural instincts, and he excels as a receiver. In 2005, Moore finished with 662 rush yards added 37 receptions for 339 yards in limited duty, so he has demonstrated the ability to be fantasy relevant.

Matt Turner/Roddy White ,QB/WR

Much to the chagrin of the Falcons coaching staff, it will not be possible to hand the ball off to Michael Turner on every single play. As it turns out, it seems that NFL defenses tend to catch on to this ploy, and start to make adjustments, like using 4 defensive tackles on 3rd down. This may work out fine, because Matt Ryan is slowly progressing and looks like he is going to be a pretty good QB, perhaps even worthy of using for fantasy purposes this season. Ryan's strengths are his intelligence and accuracy, and while he was expected to struggle a bit in the long passing game, he has actually looked pretty good in this area as well. Roddy White started out a little slow this year, but he is clearly Ryan's most capable target. In the past two weeks, White has been very solid, with 209 yards and a TD. This past week against Carolina, he was targeted by Matt Ryan a total of 17 times, so he is certainly a guy you want to keep in your lineup.

Steve Slaton ,RB

It didn't take the Houston Texans long to figure out that rookie Steve Slaton was the best choice to give their uninspiring running game a boost. Given that Ahman Green typically hurts himself while putting on his shoes, it's not like Slaton had any great obstacle to surpass, but nonetheless the rookie has been a fairly impressive starter. He broke out with a 118 yard performance against a very strong Titans defense, and while he couldn't repeat his ground success last week against the Jaguars (33 rushing yards), he made up for it with 8 catches for 83 yards. Slaton is probably worth using as a #2 RB right now, if you are tired of trying to figure out what someone like Thomas Jones will do each week.

Robert Meachem ,WR

The New Orleans Saints receiver situation makes about as much sense as the latest X-files movie, and the biggest mystery is trying to figure out exactly why Robert Meachem has yet to pass the thoroughly unremarkable David Patten, and the consistently maladroit Devery Henderson on the depth chart. Meachem, as you might recall, was considered by many scouts as a close 2nd to Calvin Johnson in terms of future potential coming out of the 2007 draft. So far this season, he was inactive for one game, and in a part-time role, has 5 catches for 204 yards, with 2 TDs in the three games he has played. Maybe the Saints can do some simple mathmatical extrapolation here and figure out that Meachem is probably the best receiver on their roster.

J.T. O'Sullivan/Vernon Davis ,QB/TE

J.T. O'Sullivan has certainly been suitable as a #2 fantasy QB so far this season, but in the same way we would never want to see famous late-night sidekick Paul Schafer fill-in for David Letterman, you probably don't want to use O'Sullivan as your starter unless the matchup is exceptional. Unfortunately, over the next month or so, the San Francisco 49ers appear to some unexceptional matchups, with New England, Philadelphia, the Giants and the Seahawks on the schedule. As far as Vernon Davis, I guess we should have seen it coming. Mike Martz spread offense is not friendly to the TE position, and although the Niners have been utilizing his speed on some deep routes, it is more likely that the ball will bounce off Davis's helmet than land in his hands. Unfortunately, this has been a recurring pattern for Vernon Davis in his young career so far.

Todd Heap ,TE

Evidently Todd Heap couldn't make it to the game this week, and the Ravens deployed a decoy imposter to take his place on the field. This imposter did an outstanding job avoiding the football on all offense plays, and if you observe the boxscore from this weeks game, you will once again find that Todd Heap and his imposter have succeeded in their covert operation to produce exactly zero catches and yards. There are too many decent young TE's that are most likely available on the waiver wire to waste much more time with Heap, so if you can grab someone like Greg Olsen, Dustin Keller, or Zach Miller it may be time to do so.

Selvin Young ,RB

Selvin Young is still the lead runningback in Denver, but there is a confluence of factors that will probably make him a bad start for the foreseeable future. For one thing, the Broncos are clearly emphasizing the passing game, and this new downfield bonanza doesn't seem to include alot of swing passes to runningbacks. Of course, the other issue is the multitude of options that fickle Mike Shanahan has at his disposal. So far, the maximum number of carries that Young has been given is 11, with Andre Hall and Michael Pittman currently involved in the collective effort. To possibly add to the clutter in the near future, Ryan Torain is expected to return in week 8 or so, which could further diminish Young's already deflated value.

Ricky Williams ,RB

Grab your luggage, bid the conductor a 'good day', and don't forget to tuck and roll, it's time to jump off the Ricky Williams makes-a-comeback train. While Williams is certainly worth hanging on to if you also have Ronnie Brown on your roster, that is probably the extent of his usefulness after Brown's resounding 113 yard 4 TD declaration that his knee is not an issue any longer. Williams also had a decent day, of course, with 98 yards, but in the event that Brown continues to play well, it's hard to see how Miami will continue giving Williams 50% of total carries as the season progresses.