Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers - 9/30

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

Updated September 30, 2009  JunkyardJake.Com

Glen Coffee/Vernon Davis ,RB/TE

It took a couple day's to figure out what type of foot/ankle and/or strain/sprain it was that sent Frank Gore to the lockerroom on the first offensive snap of the game this past Sunday, but what we do know for almost certain, is that we probably won't be seeing Mr. Gore until after San Franciso's week 6 bye. This makes Glen Coffee a great pickup this week, especially against the clumsy Rams defense.

Vernon Davis, who just had a career game of 7 catches for 96 yards and 2 TDs, is another interesting prospect who should see more chances with Frank Gore out. Provided that you are not holding a grudge because you had Davis on your team in any of the past 3 years, he is definitely worth picking up as well.

Mike Wallace ,WR

Sorry 60 Minutes Mike Wallace, you are pretty cool, but Pittsburgh's rookie receiver is my new favorite Mike Wallace. Wallace can flat-out fly down the field, and unlike Limas Sweed, he also seems to hang onto the ball after Ben Roethlisberger hits him in the hands. There is a good chance that the rookie will assume the deep threat role that Nate Washington filled for the Steelers last year, so he should be worth stashing on your roster.

Jerome Harrison ,RB

- It was against the tough Ravens defense, but he came through with 16 carries for 52 yards, also converting 7 pass targets into 5 catches for 33 yards. Not a tremendous statistical day, but it's safe to say Harrison strengthened his claim to the Browns #2 RB spot because James Davis did virtually nothing with his chances. Of course the Browns #2 job is a rather lucrative position these days, since Jamal Lewis is likely to remain as reliable as your pothead friend when you ask him to pick you up at the airport.

Johnny Knox ,WR

- As far as the Earl Bennett/Johnny Knox sweepstakes goes, the apparent edge goes to Earl Bennett this week, as he finished with 4 catches for 80 yards. However, the box score was a little deceiving in terms of the Bennett/Knox rotation. While Knox had 1 catch for 7, he was targeted 3 times, and twice in the redzone. Bennett was targeted only 4 times in total, with no redzone targets. Knox still seems to be the guy with the best upside given his exceptional speed and ability to gain consistent separation.

Jamaal Charles ,RB

- Anyone else getting the nagging suspicion that Larry Johnson is about to get cancelled like a Jeff Foxworthy TV show ? Johnson certainly seems to be running more like Larry the Cable Guy these days, with 136 total rush yards, and a YPC of only 2.5. Meanwhile, 2nd year runningback Jamaal Charles seemed to provide a spark when he was given the chance this week, gaining 6 yards per carry in limited duty (6 carries for 36 yards). Charles was also fairly active in the passing game, with 4 targets.

Fred Taylor/Laurence Maroney ,RB

- Laurence Maroney was once again hiding in his injury bunker against the Falcons this week, allowing Fred Taylor to party like it was 1999. Taylor ended his productive day with 21 carries for 105 yards and 1 TD, a statline that will no doubt have him showing up in week four fantasy lineups. That's fine if it works, but with the New England runningback rotation still looking like a covert operation, and this weeks matchup versus Baltimore, it's probably best to steer clear of the Patriots running game altogether.

Bryant Johnson ,WR

- On the surface, it looks like the Lions found themselves a viable #2 receiver this week in Bryant Johnson, afterall, he finished the day with 4 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. However, before anyone goes starting Bryant over Santonio Holmes or Steve Smith this week, also consider that Bryant was targeted 13 times, meaning he only caught 30% of the balls thrown to him.

There seems to be maybe two conclusions here - 1) On the plays where Calvin Johnson isn't triple covered, Matthew Stafford will gradually become more comfortable throwing it in his direction more often and 2) If you put one of those big 35 LB Rubbermaid trash receptacles in the corner of the endzone with a careless free safety covering, chances are any NFL QB will be able to hit it for a 21 yard touchdown.

Eddie Royal ,WR

- OK Josh McDaniels, we get it, you are a super-genius who can win football games with marginal talent receivers like Jabar Gaffney that you worked with in New England, while leaving Eddie Royal on the sidelines playing checkers with the offensive coordinator. Terrific, we are really impressed, just don't come whining to us when your defense lets you down and actually need to score some points.

Jamal Lewis ,RB

-So, was Jamal Lewis really injured in week three, or has he come to the realization that the Browns are just so hapless that he decided to call in sick on Sunday because he figured playing golf with Michael Jordan was a much more constructive use of his time?... ..(nasally voice)...yeah coach this is Jamal...(cough..cough).., I'm really sick today, I'll try to make it in next week... That's ok Jamal, you get well, it was a little more interesting watching Jerome Harrison anyway.

Robert Meachem ,WR

- Maybe someday we will all have that miraculous Robert Meachem story to tell our grandkids. You know the one, it kindof goes like...'Yeah, I picked Robert Meachem in the 14th round of my fantasy draft, and he went on to have a 1,100 yard 12 TD season just like I knew he could'. Alas, we may need to wait yet another year for Meachem to do anything noteworthy, he is just too inconsistent to depend on for fantasy purposes right now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RotoProfessor's Fantasy Football Roundtable

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By RotoProfessor.Com  September 25, 2009

Here is the week 2 edition of RotoProfessor.Com's 'Fourth & 1 Debate' fantasy football roundtable featuring some of the best football writers on the net. Each week the participating sites will take turns posing a question.

This week's question:
'Every year a handful of receivers emerge from obscurity to become fantasy relevant. This year a few relatively overlooked receivers, such as Earl Bennett, Mario Manningham and Andre Caldwell showed signs that they could be factors in 2009. Who are your 2 or 3 favorite surprise receivers for this season ?'

Eric Stashin of RotoProfessor.Com says:

The St. Louis Rams’ Laurent Robinson certainly has to be among the top two or three 'surprise receivers' who have emerged in the early going this season. The third year receiver had just 42 receptions over his first two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, yet already has 11 catches. He’s been the prime target for Marc Bulger in the early going and given the state of their receiving corps should continue to be so all year long.

Another breakout receiver is rookie Johnny Knox, who showed last week that he is not just the burner that people expected him to be. He was targeted by Jay Cutler nine times this past week and if that trend can continue, he could emerge as this seasons’ version of Eddie Royal, aka a rookie breakout thanks to Cutler.

Jacob of FantasyFootballFools.Com says:

Laurent Robinson, WR, St. Louis Rams: It might too early to be sure, but Robinson looks like the Rams' No. 1 receiver this year. Undrafted in most leagues, Robinson was traded by the Falcons to the Rams for peanuts -- literally, just peanuts, the honey-roasted kind. Most fantasy footballers didn't even notice he was out of Atlanta with all the Harry Douglas hype this preseason. But in St. Louis, Robinson, the constant sleeper, has finally gotten his shot. He's a better red zone threat than Donnie Avery with his height and leaping ability. As long as the Rams stay well-behind every team they play this season, Robinson should see plenty of garbage time targets and yards this season. I like him better in PPR leagues because they don't require that Robinson actually score -- hard to promise that for the Rams this year.

Devery Henderson, WR, New Orleans Saints: Not possible. It can't be true that Henderson has finally come to the land of consistency. In two games, he's got 174 yards and a touchdown. After being boom or bust from week to week, Henderson has finally cemented himself as a part of the Saints offense, and as long he keeps it up, he could be in line for a big year since Brees can do whatever he wants with a football this season. He makes the Gatorade on the sidelines turn to wine -- or so I am told. I think it's safe for the Saints to cut their punter if they want the roster room.

Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings: It's hard to call Harvin a "surprise" with all the praise he got early on this year, but Favre's favoritism towards the rookie WR/RB -- Harvin was made to be a fantasy flex -- was unexpected. Harvin has scored twice already this season, and he could be in line for many more since Favre's looking to him in short-yardage scoring situations early and often. He's no guaranteed fantasy starter, but I like Harvin's chances this year since he's also used in the Vikings' Wildcat formation and trick play sets.

Surprisingly productive receivers so far this season: Santonio Holmes (PIT) and Steve Smith (NYG)

Paul Greco of FantasyPros911.Com says:

The question kind of answers itself. Every year there are those WRs that do seem to step up and Fantasy Owners need to be paying attention to get those that emerge from he scrap heap.

Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears : Everyone was eyeballing Earl Bennett, when all of a sudden here comes Johnny Knox. The fifth round pick out of Abilene Christian has played his way into the starting lineup and has become a favorite of new QB Jay Cutler. With 152 yards and a touchdown, I think anyone saw this coming. The question is, can Knox continue? With a cool name like Johnny Knox, why not.

Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars : The former third round pick finally has an opportunity to show off his game. Although Sims-Walker did absolutely nothing in week one, he showed Fantasy Owners last week that he's a guy that can be counted on as a No. 3 WR for Fantasy Owners. I'll be more impressed with Sims-Walker if he can do it two weeks in a row. But, lets be honest, who else will compete with him at the No. 2 WR spot in Jacksonville?

Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos : Now he's not an overlooked WR, but sure is a surprise; on the wrong side. Before training camp he was bragging about how he wants to catch 120 balls this year. Hey Eddie, how about you catch more than three in a game first. Right now, to me, he's one of the biggest busts at the position. Hopefully Fantasy Owners didn't take him to early and they can stash him away for another week or two before hopefully he shows us all why we thought he'd be worth a No. 2 spot on our rosters.

Smitty of FantasyFootballXtreme.Com says:

My favorite surprise sleepers at the wide receiver position are currently Julian Edelman, Chaz Schilens and of course Mario Manningham.

Now, Manningham is probably not someone you can currently buy-low, as he was the hottest waiver wire grab exiting that insane Week 2 performance (10-150-1). Will he continue to succeed and play like the Giants' new number one wide receiver moving forward? I think so. Since Week 1, Manningham has climbed the most on our 2009 Fantasy Football Rankings.... he has climbed an FFX record 117 spots in just under two weeks. I wouldn't expect consistency, as he still has some learning to do, but Manningham is in a unique situation and could be forced to mature rather quickly.

In years past, NFL receivers took 2-3 years to develop, but studs like Anquan Boldin and Marques Colston have proven that youngsters at the position can excel if forced into an active role early on in their career. Eddie Royal is yet another example of a young receiver forced to grow up fast, and he was actually a rookie last season. Manningham is in that kind of situation in just his second season... and he could really flourish. Congrats if you own him in dynasty leagues and don't sell-high.... hang onto him and play with the house's money!

As for Edelman and Schilens, watch out for these two players. Edelman was another player people likely scooped up exiting Week 2, but Schilens is probably a free agent in most leagues right now. He is a talented receiver, and while he is currently banged up with a foot injury, he could play in Week 4 or 5. He has the talent to be that No. 1WR in OAK right away.

Ryan Lester of says:

Every year there are Wide Receivers that get off to quick starts. The key is sniffing out if they are contenders or pretenders. The obvious choices early on are the Giants duo of Mario Manningham and Steve Smith and St. Louis' Laurent Robinson. I would endorse those three, especially the Giants duo first and foremost, but I decided to dig a little deeper.

A name that comes to mind is Seattle's Nate Burleson. He started the season with a bang with 7 catches for 74 yards and a TD in a win over St. Louis. He followed that up with 4 catches for 46 yards in a loss to San Francisco. Aside from the production, the encouraging aspect was the number of targets. He led the Seahawks in targets both games, with 11 and 10 respectively.

The key for his continued success is his health. Though Matt Hasselbeck is questionable with a fractured rib, Seneca Wallace is a capable replacement. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh and John Carlson receiving most of the defensive focus, Burleson makes a solid fill-in player during the bye weeks.

Bryce McRae of KFFL.Com says:

Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Mike Sims-Walker announced his presence with six receptions for 106 yards and a score in Week 2. The third-year wideout has talent, this much we know, but he has had trouble staying healthy during his short career. He's already one of the top wideouts in Jacksonville. OK, that might not be saying much, but someone has to catch passes when the Jags take to the air. Wide receiver Torry Holt might garner a few more looks, but the team has called Sims-Walker's number often when he's healthy.

The St. Louis Rams' Laurent Robinson had a chip on his shoulder after an offseason trade. Given his early play, the chip must be the size of Texas. Another third-year wideout, Robinson has 11 receptions for 141 yards and one score this year. As fellow starting wideout Donnie Avery gets caught up, his speed should help open up the field, keeping things open for Robinson, the better possession catcher.

Finally, I feel the New York Giants' Steve Smith (as much as Mario Manningham) is a surprising receiver to keep an eye on. Smith has 16 receptions, 214 receiving yards and one touchdown. The third-year receiver has been one of quarterback Eli Manning's favorite targets in the past. Also, defenses could back off the line of scrimmage to try and shut down the passing attack if it continues to perform at a respectable level. However, New York has a potent rushing attack that will have to keep defenses honest. Pick your poison. Don't let Manningham's big game overshadow Smith, though.

Lee of FootballJabber.Com says:

Of course Johnny Knox has got a lot of press this week. I was able to draft him in a deep Dynasty league that I was really hurting at the WR position. I would love to see him keep it going but I'm not very found of the inconsistency that is Jay Cutler.

Being a Saints fan I'm always looking for Devery Henderson to pick it up. In one league where 1/2 a point is rewarded per reception Henderson is at #11 going into week three. Sure, inconsistency is big here because of the way that the Saints spread the ball around...and drops. Henderson should make excellent bye week filler if you are not deep at WR.

Laurent Robinson snuck in and took the #2 WR spot for the Rams and is looking like he may be a consistent point grabber that someone got cheap.

Jake of Junkyardjake.Com says:

Robert Meachem - Meachem has been derailed by injuries and sloppy route-running during his first two years in the league, but still remains a great prospect, with size, power, agility and speed. He has shown glimpes of his potential over the past two seasons, and seems like the ideal #2 receiver for the Saints if he can grasp the mental aspect of his position this year.

Louis Murphy - Murphy was mostly overlooked as the 2nd receiver picked by Raiders in this years draft, but there is reason to believe that he could adapt to the pro game quicker than the Oakland's more heralded 1st round selection, Darrius Heyward-Bey. He's currently listed as Chaz Schilens' backup, and JaMarcus Russell's inconsistent play will seemingly limit the upside of any Raiders receiver, but Louis Murphy has an intriguing size/speed combination and appears to be a better route runner than Heyward-Bey at this point in time.

Andre Caldwell - The Bengals 3rd round pick in 2008, he was used very sparingly last year, not seeing the field until week 12. He opened up the 2009 season with 6 catches for 54 yards, with 8 targets to lead the team in week 1. His value this year will mostly depend on the effectiveness of newly signed Laveranues Coles, but if given the chance, Caldwell can definitely make an impact this year with his great hands, size and homerun speed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers -9/22

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

Updated September 22, 2009  JunkyardJake.Com

Pierre Thomas ,RB

-A fantasy outcast just one short week ago, Pierre Thomas will likely find himself thrust back into significant playing time as a result of Mike Bell's untimely knee injury. It's easy to have a short memory concerning Thomas, since he was sucked into the injury nebulous over the first couple weeks, but remember, he was the guy who effectively replaced Reggie Bush down the stretch last season, with 909 total yards and 9 TDs, mostly accumulated after week 11. Thomas has had a few weeks to recover from his own knee injury, and was ready to go in week 2, so he makes a decent guy to pickup for RB help if someone hastily dropped him in your league.

Donald Brown ,RB

-There is no doubt that the Miami defense had something to do with it, but Joseph Addai gave his 2009 fantasy owners some unpleasant flashbacks from 2008 when he stumbled along to a 6 carry/32 yard performance this Monday night. Meanwhile, Donald Brown gave a glimpse of his potential with a 6.5 YPC, a 24 yard catch and 1 TD in his role as Addai's #2. Even if Addai remains the starter, Brown should absolutely not be left on your waiver wire, and Addai owners may want to mobilize some trade offers.

Torry Holt/Mike Sims-Walker ,WR

-If you can't help yawning at the thought of picking up Torry Holt, you are not alone, there is really nothing exciting about a 33 year-old receiver in a dysfunctional passing offense. However, Holt is still a savvy player and he represents the #1 option for Jacksonville, evidenced by the fact that David Garrard looked his way 11 times this past week. Mike Sims-Walker is a more interesting, albeit risky prospect, with good size, great hands, decent speed, and solid instincts. Sims-Walker gets his chance as Jacksonvilles #2 wideout now that Troy Williamson is out for the season.

Laurent Robinson ,WR

-It must be a lonely job as the only guy trying to help the Rams move the ball down the field in their passing game, but Laurent Robinson is that guy so far. At 6-2 Robinson has good size, shows decent burst, and seems to have improved his route-running compared to his first couple seasons in the league. We'll see if he can keep it up, but so far he is the Rams #1 receiver with 21 targets, including 4 redzone opportunities.

Justin Forsett ,RB

-Justin Forsett is quietly becoming a factor in the Seattle offense - this week he finished with 35 rushing yards on 5 carries along with 6 catches for 57 yards. Although Edgerrin James is technically the primary backup to Julius Jones, it may turn out that Forsett retains the most value. Unfortunately, you can't teach size, and Forsett's 5-8, 190 lb stature will almost certainly preclude him from being a lead back in the NFL, but he is definitely worth picking up as a contingency plan for Julius Jones, or even a possible flex option.

Donnie Avery ,WR

-It's way too early to give up on Avery, but there were doubts about the 2nd year receiver being able to handle a #1 receiver role given his smallish stature, and those doubts may be materializing a bit. In fact, word is that teammates voted him 'Most likely Player to be Adversely Affected by a Strong Gust of Wind', and at 185 lbs, he is very susceptible to getting mugged at the line by larger cornerbacks. He probably has nearly no trade value, but Avery is absolutely not startable right now.

Earl Bennett ,WR

-In just one week, Earl Bennett went from potential centerpiece of the Bears passing game with 16 targets, to the receiver who was sent to the bench and then convincingly outplayed by a rookie. Truth is, rookie Johnny Knox has no business making a consistent impact this year, but he does have better speed and big-play ability compared to Earl Bennett. Nonetheless, both players should probably be bansihed from starting lineups until Jay Cutler figures out who he wants to throw to.

Ray Rice ,RB

-One of the darlings of this years preseason hype machine, Ray Rice is so far turning out to be the complementary player in the Ravens running game that is consistent with his diminutive physique and unique passing down skills. So far, Rices' alleged backup Willis McGahee has received 25 carries to Rice's 28, thier yardage is almost identical, and McGahee has the clear TD advantage, 4 to zero. It certainly would not be unreasonable to contemplate trading Rice if you can upgrade another position on your fantasy team.

Brandon Marshall ,WR

-Aside from trying to prove he was more eccentric than Michael Crabtree, Marshall didn't accomplish much over the offseason, and his underachievement has so far carried over into the regular season. The new Broncos passing offense clearly does not rely on a featured pair of wideouts, so there is a fairly good chance that Marshall won't be a 1,200 yard guy this year. He does however represent decent trade bait if another owner in your league is seeking another flaky, overrated receiver to pair up with Terrell Owens on their roster.

Joey Galloway ,WR

-Given that the Jets bottled up Randy Moss pretty well, and Wes Welker was apparently abducted by aliens 2 minutes before gametime, Joey Galloway was Tom Brady's most popular target this past week, with 13 looks. Unfortunately, that seemed to be more than the 38 year-old receiver could handle at this point in his career, as he ended the day with only 5 catches for 53 yards. When Welker returns, Galloway can go back to planning his retirement fishing trips.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers/Creepers -9/17

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

Updated September 17, 2009  JunkyardJake.Com

Carnell Williams/Derrick Ward ,RB

-It's nice to see Carnell Williams emerge from seclusion to show that he can still gain positive yardage, everyone definitely had doubts after his two consecutive 200 yard seasons. Williams and Derrick Ward received almost equal carries this week, and although Williams outgained Ward 97 to 62 in yards, Derrick Ward seemed to be the preferred guy in the redzone (4 attempts).

Chris Wells ,RB

-The 49ers focused on stopping Fitzgerald and Boldin, so Tim Hightower received a silly amount of looks in the passing game this week with 14 targets and 12 catches. Unfortunately, Hightower once again couldn't do much with his carries, gaining only 15 yards on 8 attempts. Chris Wells made his league debut with 7 carries and 29 yards, giving him a 4.14 YPC and potentially demonstrating why he could represent a more effective rushing option over Tim Hightower.

Steve Smith/Mario Manningham ,WR

-Eli Manning has to be the most unexciting multi-millionaire quarterback in the league, but he still knows how to find his open receivers, and Plaxico Burress as we know won't be one of them this year. Steve Smith should emerge as Mannings favorite possession receiver, and was targeted 8 times this week, while Manningham offers more upside by virtue of his speed and elusiveness. Super Mario was on the receiving end of the Giants longest pass play, a 30 yarder, and also caught Mannings lone TD toss.

Willis McGahee ,RB

-Going into week 1, McGahee had been relegated to an underappreciated afterthought given that Ray Rice had overtaken him on the depth chart. Rice did fine with 19 carries for 108 yards against the Chiefs, but McGahee turned out to be the better fantasy option, with 87 total yards, 5 redzone carries and 2 TDs.

Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem ,WR

-They probably should have stopped the New Orleans/Detroit game after the 2nd quarter, as Drew Brees was putting on a precision passing clinic and clearly was not going to be stopped. Brees ended up throwing only 34 times, but typically averaged about 40 attempts last year. With all the balls that will probably be flying around this season for the Saints, it's not inconceivable that Henderson and Meachem turn out to be worth using every week.

Earl Bennett ,WR

-Maybe it was because Greg Olsen was being smothered, or maybe it's some form of nepotism, but Jay Cutler's former college teammate Earl Bennett was targeted a surprising 16 times this week. He ended up with only 7 catches for 66 yards, but if the target trend continues, Bennett can't help being fantasy-relevant this year.

Pierre Garcon/Austin Collie ,WR

-Last seen crumbling to the ground with noone within 10 feet of him, Anthony Gonzalez was apparently assaulted by a phanthom defender this week. The Colts may attempt to sign a veteran wideout, but they are probably better off going with the combination of Garcon and Collie. Although just a rookie, Collie might be the better route-runner, while Garcon should be effective on deep routes.

Shaun Hill/Isaac Bruce ,QB/WR

-Arizona wouldn't allow it, but the 49ers really wanted to run this week, and who could blame them, because their passing game looks like a badly cheorographed production of 'We Suck-The Musical'. Vernon Davis did receive an encouraging 8 targets this week, so there is a glimmer of hope, but Isaac Bruce is clearly not a receiver who can be featured any longer.

Earnest Graham ,RB

-What happened to that potentially-potent three runningback alliance between Carnell Williams, Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham? Graham was the distinct outcast this week against Dallas, receiving only 1 carry. This week bears watching, but Graham could be the odd man out if the Carnell Williams resurgence is for real.

Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush ,RB

-Mike Bell was used early and often this week, compiling 144 yards on 28 carries. Although it was against the cooperative Detriot lions run defense, if he keeps that kind of performance up, Pierre Thomas might have an additional backfield partner to contend with, and Reggie Bush might only see the field in obvious passing situations.

Laveranues Coles ,WR

-It may not be time to hit the panic button just yet on Coles, but just 5 targets resulting in 1 measley catch for 11 insignificant yards is disappointing to say the least. Also consider that Andre Caldwell was targeted 8 times, and Chad Ochocinco is at least temporarily laying off his crazy pills.

Marc Bulger ,QB

-If Bulger can only throw for 191 yards against the philanthropic Seattle Seahawks secondary it really won't matter how easy his schedule is. Unless your other options are Bryon Leftwich and/or Jake Delhomme, it's hard to see a situation where you would want to use Bulger right now until he starts playing with just a smidge of inspiration.