Quarterbacks
Kyle Orton
- 24 of 34 for 334 yards, 2 TDs
Aaron Rodgers - 25 of 37 for 313 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Tony Romo - 14 of 23 for 176 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Ben Roethlisberger - 26 of 41 for 309 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Drew Brees - 26 of 46 for 330 yards, TD, 2 INTs

Running Backs
Steve Slaton
 - 16 carries for 93 yards, 2 TDs
Joseph Addai - 17 carries for 71 yards, TD
Michael Turner - 26 carries for 121 yards, TD
DeAngelo Williams - 20 carries for 123 yards, 2 TDs, 1 catch for 25 yards, TD
Ronnie Brown - 24 carries for 125 yards, TD
Brandon Jacobs - 15 carries for 136 yards, 2 TDs
Clinton Portis - 29 carries for 145 yards, TD
Brian Westbrook - 12 carries for 33 yards, TD, 6 catches for 51 yards
Edgerrin James - 21 carries for 57 yards, TD, 2 catches for 21 yards
Tim Hightower - 7 carries for 37 yards, 2 TDs
Felix Jones - 9 carries for 96 yards, TD
Frank Gore - 12 carries for 54 yards, 4 catches for 24 yards, TD
Kevin Faulk - 7 carries for 32 yards, 2 TDs. 4 catches for 29 yards
Mewelde Moore - 17 carries for 99 yards, 3 catches for 17 yards
Reggie Bush - 12 carries for 29 yards, 7 catches for 64 yards, 2 punt return TDs 

Wide Receivers
Andre Johnson 
- 9 catches for 131 yards, TD
Reggie Wayne - 7 catches for 97 yards, TD
Muhsin Muhammad - 3 catches for 71 yards, TD
Greg Jennings - 4 cathches for 87 yards, TD
Donald Driver - 3 catches for 68 yards, TD 
Greg Camarillo - 6 catches for 68 yards, TD
Domenik Hixon - 4 catches for 102 yards, TD, 1 carry for 15 yards
Sincore Moss - 4 catches for 45 yards, 2 TDs 
Lee Evans - 2 catches for 100 yards, TD
Larry Fitzgerald - 7 catches for 52 yards, 2 TDs
T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 7 catches for 85 yards, 2 TDs
Terrell Owens - 2 catches for 67 yards, TD, 1 carry for 8 yards
Randy Moss - 5 catches for 111 yards, TD
Isaac Bruce - 3 catches for 49 yards, 2 TDs
Mike Walker - 6 catches for 107 yards
Nate Washington - 6 catches for 94 yards, TD
Hines Ward - 7 catches for 90 yards, TD
Bernard Berrian - 6 catches for 110 yards, TD
Devery Henderson - 4 catches for 104 yards, TD

Tight Ends

Chris Cooley - 8 catches for 109 yards, TD
Jason Witten - 8 catches for 79 yards, TD

I’m going to look at the matchups each week and pick five fantasy starters that could be in for a tough week.  Here’s a look at players who could struggle this week.

Quarterback
Peyton Manning
- I don’t know that I could bench Peyton Manning, but if you are a Manning owner, you can’t be thrilled about him facing Baltimore’s tough pass D.  They have allowed just yards per game and a mere 2 passing TDs.  Granted Manning isn’t your average QB, but I don’t see him carrying your fantasy team this week.

Running Backs
Michael Turner
-  Turner is a threat to break one at any time, and he’s piled up the stats vs. the bad run Ds.  Too bad for Atlanta and Turner’s fantasy owners that Chicago isn’t a bad run D. 

DeAngelo Williams  – DeAngelo Williams is coming off a big three TD performance vs. Kansas City.  Too bad he doesn’t face them every week.  Next week he’ll have his hands more full against Tampa Bay, where I figure Jonathan Stewart’s running style is better suited.  Don’t expect a repeat performance from DeAngelo.

Wide Receiver
Isaac Bruce 
- He’s had a rejuvenation in the bay, but that will have to go on hold this week as he squares off against Philly’s tough pass D.  If you’ve been riding his hot streak in your 3rd WR slot, you’re best to look for alternatives this week.

Chris Chambers - Chambers is facing New England this week making him an unattractive WR option.  There are plenty of other matchups I’d rather exploit.  Chambers has been scoring TDs like mad, but he doesn’t have enough receptions for me to be confident with him.  That TD well will evenutally dry and if he’s not getting you at least 60 yards or so you’re going to be hurting.

There were some unusual heroes on Sunday.  There always are.  Let’s take a look at them and see if they are worthy of your fantasy rosters.

QB
Kyle Orton -  He threw for 334 yards and 2 TDS.  I guess I have to start taking him seriously as he has three straight multiple TD games, with an average of 267 passing yards per game over that stretch.  I take back the things I said about him before and recommend him for your bench. 
Ruling:  Get ‘em

RBs

DeAngelo Williams - If he was cut following his mediocre string of games vs. Chicago, Minnesota, and Atlanta, his previous owners are kicking themselves for missing out on his 3 TD, 148 total yard effort vs. Kansas City.  He won’t do that again, but he proved he’s still capable of being roster worthy.
Ruling:  Get ‘em.

Kevin Faulk – Faulk was instrumental in New England’s road victory over the 49ers with 7 carries for 32 yards and a pair of TDs.  He added 29 yards on 4 catches.  I get the feeling that the Patriot RBs will be used according to their matchups leaving none of them reliable to start on a consistent basis.  Faulk means more to the Pats than he does to fantasy teams. 
Ruling:  Don’t Sweat ’em. 

WRs
Greg Camarillo – His production has increase every week thus far, capped off by his 68 yard, TD performance vs. San Diego.  He faces a poor Houston secondary so he’s worth picking up for a week if you have the bye week blues next week.  However, he faces Baltimore and Buffalo the next two weeks so he’s not a good long-term answer. 
Ruling:  Get ‘em (for next week). 

Sincore Moss - Sincore caught 4 passes for 45 yards and 2 TDs.  Of course, Plaxico Burress was suspended from this game.  This feels like a one-game wonder to me.  Let somebody else chase the box score.
Ruling: Don’t Sweat ‘em.

TE
Tom Sati  - Yes, he scored a TD and caught four passes, but he’s just too far down the food chain in Indy’s Offense to worry about.
Ruling:  Don’t Sweat ‘em.

There you have it.  I hope I provided you some good info while you make your fantasy team waiver wire adjustments.

With Buffalo, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee on bye next week there are several outstanding players not available to your fantasy teams.  Let take a look at some attractive alternatives.

Quarterback
Big Ben is probably the only one you’re counting on, but Trent Edwards has been a popular pickup of late.  If you are relying on Kerry Collins or Damon Huard, you’ve got bigger problems than I can address.  The Miami-Houston game presents a couple of options.  Chad Pennington and either Sage Rosenfels or Matt Schaub should be decent plug-and-play guys. 

Running Back
Marshawn Lynch, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Chris Johnson, and LenDale White are on bye.  Rookies Steve Slaton and Matt Forte should be able to produce against Miami and Atlanta respectivley.  Both Darren McFadden and Michael Bush should put up fantasy numbers vs. New Orleans.

Wide Receiver
You need to replace Lee Evans, Dwayne Bowe, Santonio Holmes, and Hines Ward.  Antwaan Randle El could turn in a decent performance against St. Louis.  Ted Ginn, Jr. could be a sneaky play vs. Houston.  The Giants’ Domenik Hixon could produce vs. Cleveland.

Tight End
You’ll have to find an alternative for Tony Gonzalez and Heath Miller.  I like Zach Miller to have another strong performance for Oakland against the Saints.

Trading Places

6 October 2008

Frank Gore and Thomas Jones are about to have their worlds turned upside down. 

Frank Gore has been amazing with 603 total yards and 4 TDs (120.6 and 0.8 per game) in the 49ers’ first five games.  He’s been the most productive back not named Michael Turner through the first five weeks.  That’s about to change though as he has back-to-back dates with two NFC East powerhouses.  They will provide much stiffer tests than some of the feeble Defenses he’s faced (Detroit and New Orleans for example) thus far.  First up is Philly, who got burned by Washington for 200+ on the ground.  That’s not going to sit well with the Birds.  They are still allowing just 83.6 rushing yards per game despite Washington’s onslaught.  They have only allowed 2 rushing TDs through the first five weeks.  He gets no relief in Week 7 when they face the Giants on the road.  The Giants are even tougher statistically allowing just 82 yards per game and only 1 TD in four games.

Thomas Jones was almost an afterthough as Brett Favre threw 6 TDs in Week 4.  Since opening the year with 101 yards against Miami, Jones has only 153 rushing yards in his last three games.  For the year he has 301 total yards and 1 TD (75.25, 0.25).  That’s about to change though as he has three cushy matchups lined up.  He starts off with Cincinnati out of the bye.  They’ve been torched for 171 yards per game and have allowed 6 rushing TDs through five games.  He follows that up with a date with Oakland.  They are only allowing 113.3 per game, which is middle of the pack, but they have given up 7 rushing TDs in 4 games.  Finally, he gets to tee off against Kansas City.  They are dead last in the league allowing 182.2 yards per game.  They have also been burned for 8 rushing TDs in give games.

There’s the fantasy nugget.  Adjust your lineups accordingly.

The LEV Report

4 October 2008




Written by LEV

Observations and Predictions…
LEV from Crazy Colored Glasses checks in with his look back at Week 4 and a preview to Week 5.

 

Week 4 was a big upset week for me as my beloved Dallas Cowboys were knocked off by a very impressive Washington Redskins team, which has now won 3 in a row after looking dead in the opener against the Giants. Jason Campbell showed great poise and played the new West Coast offense to perfection. They are going to be a team to be reckoned with. The Bears also showed they are a team to look out for in upsetting the Eagles. The Bears are a few breaks away from being 4-0. They are a team that bears watching. The Chiefs also pulled out a shocking win against the previously undefeated Broncos. I don’t know anyone who picked that. I was also surprised that the Bucs handled the Packers so easily. I think their was a bit of a letdown after the Cowboys game last week.

The rest of Sunday (and Monday) basically went according to plan. A few standouts were Brett’s big day against the Cardinals. Jacksonville pulling out a close against the Texans (welcome back Matt Schaub). And even though they lost, Baltimore also showed it has some fight in them behind rookie Joe Flacco. I like this kid, and with that defense they will be in every game.

Top Performers
QB-Brett Favre:
Huge 6 touchdown performance against the Cardinals.
RB-Larry Johnson: Was it a return to form, or a 1 game blip? The biggest reason for the Chiefs upset of the Broncos.
WR-Lavarenues Coles: Finally seems to have clicked with Favre as evidenced by his 3 score day.
TE-Zach Miller: A big reason the Raiders held a surprising lead at the half. Nice day, I think he’ll turn out to be JaMarcus Russell’s main weapon.
Special Teams-Washington Redskins: They dominated the Cowboys in kick coverage. Giving neither Adam Jones or Felix Jones a chance at any type of quality runback. Therefor pinning the Boys deep on their end of the field constantly.
Defense-Carolina Panthers: They did a good job of shutting down the resurgent Falcons.

Here are my thoughts on Week 5 games. Washington at the Eagles is my game of the week. I think the Eagles will be amped up and should win this game in a shootout. Only if Westbrook returns. Without Westy I think you have to favor the Skins. Other games I’ll have a close eye on are Pittsburgh versus the Jaguars. I’m not buying into the Jags yet, and I liked the toughness the Steelers showed. I pick the Steelers in a low scoring close game. Indy at Houston should be a tough road test for the Colts. I think the bye week came at the right time for the Colts. It should have allowed him to rest up and get on the same page with his receivers. Colts in a close one. Dallas very big over Cincy. Boys take out last weeks loss on the Bengals. Titans over an amped Baltimore in a low scoring defensive battle. The Cards over the Bills in my upset special. Just a hunch I’m having.

The rest of the games should go as follows (8-5 last week). Carolina over the Chiefs. Chicago’s Matt Forte running wild over Detroit for the win. Packers beating the Falcons in a close one. Chargers big over the Dolphins. Giants winning a close one over Seattle. Broncos beating the Bucs. Pats over the Niners in San Fran. The Saints over the Vikings to drop them to 1-4.

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Tony Romo:
Should bounce back nicely from the loss to the Skins against an overmatched Bengals secondary.
RB-Matt Forte: The rookie has looked good as the focal point of the offense. Expect a great game against the lowly Lions front line.
WR-DeSean Jackson: The Skins have fits trying to cover speedy slot receivers. Jackson should see plenty of time in the slot in 3 receivers sets.
TE-Tony Gonzalez: Special shout-out to Tony who will become the all-time reception yardage leader for Tight Ends. He is (and has been for many years) my favorite player in the NFL and in my eyes is the greatest Tight End in the history of the league.
Special Team-San Diego: Return tandem of Sproles and Cromartie one of the most dangerous weapons in the game.
Defense-Titans: I expect a low scoring game in Baltimore with the Titans clamping down and limiting Flacco and the Ravens.

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL, Week 4, Week 5 |


Putting the final piece of your fantasy football puzzle together

Bye weeks are here.  I’ve uncovered some guys you can plug in to your lineup if you are dealing with byes, an injury, or tough matchups. 

QB
Kyle Orton 
- I can’t believe I’m endorsing him, but Kyle Orton has a decent matchup this week.  He’s facing Detroit’s 22nd ranked pass D.  They are allowing 222.7 yards and 2 TDs per game.  He looks like a better play than a Matt Schaub vs. Indy’s #2 ranked pass D, Kerry Collins vs. Baltimore’s #1 ranked pass D, or David Garrard vs. Pittsburgh’s #3 ranked pass D if you are looking for a bye-week fill-in.
Stat Line:  24 of 34 for 334 yards, 2 TDs.

RB
Mewelde Moore - Injuries in Steel City have thrust Mewelde Moore into the starting role for the Steelers.  Jacksonville is middle-of-the road when it comes to Run D so Mewelde should be able to find some holes.  He is a capble receiver out of the backfield as well, making him an intriguing play this week.

Steve Slaton - I don’t know if he’s moved into Must Start status for fantasy teams, but he pretty much is this week going up against Indy’s 31st ranked Run D (199.3 ypg allowed).  Like Mewelde, he is a very capable receiver out of the backfield, and should be a solid Week 5 performer.
Stat Line:  16 carries for 93 yards, 2 TDs

WR
Lance Moore -  Last week I gave you Robert Meachem, who went for 99 yards and a score.  Moore was even better though with 101 yards and 2 scores.  I look for both Meachem and Moore to continue their strong play against Minnesota’s middle-of-the-road pass D.
Stat Line:  5 catches for 31 yards

Bernard Berrian -  If not now, then when?  Berrian goes up against New Orleans’ 29th ranked pass D.  He’s coming off two solid weeks (79 & 78 yards) with Frerotte at the helm.  I could see him breaking a big one on MNF. 
Stat Line:  6 catches for 110 yards, TD

TE
Anthony Fasano - The Chargers have the league’s worst pass D at 276.3 yards per game.  They were torched by Tight End’s Dante Rosario (TD) in Week 1, Tony Scheffler (2 TDs) in Week 2, Dustin Keller (TD) in Week 3, and Zach Miller (TD) in Week 4.  That sure looks like a trend to me.
Stat Line:  3 catches for 47 yards

K
Jason Elam
- It sure is funny to see Elam in a uniform other than the Broncos.  He’s a perfect 9 for 9 in both FGs and PATs.  He faces the Packers, who have allowed the 2nd most FGs (10) and the 3rd most Kicker points (39).
Stat Line:  2 FGs, 3 PATs 

DEF
Chicago 
- Their D doesn’t look as good as it’s been in recent years, but facing Detroit could be the cure.  They should be able to pick up multiple Sacks and INTs.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they scored a Defensive TD as well.  Losing Tommie Harris could put a wrinkle into my plans.
Stat Line:  4 Sacks, INT, Fumble Recovery, TD, 7 points allowed

First of all, I’d like to say Happy Birthday Pops!

Tampa Bay won the AL East.  The Phillies won the NL East.  Johan Santana threw a Complete Game Shutout on three days rest to solidify him as my Cy Young winner.  The Brew Crew made it to the playoffs as the Wildcard!  Sorry Mets.  Mike Mussina finally had a 20-Win Season.  The Angels recorded their first 100 Win Season.  Chipper Jones and Joe Mauer won the Batting Titles.  Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Howard were the HR Champs.  Josh Hamilton and Howard were the RBI Champs.  Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb paced the leauges with 22 Wins.  Lee and Johan won the ERA Crowns.  K-Rod finished with 62 Saves.  Tim Lincecum, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett were the Strikeout Kings.  The White Sox beat the Tigers to force a one-game playoff with the Twins.  John Danks and the Sox won that game 1-0 to win the AL Central.  Mariano Rivera is going to have shoulder surgery.  I guess the steroids testing is working as HRs are the lowest in 15 years.  Bud Black won’t be fired despite San Diego’s poor showing.  Brian Cashman got a three-year extension with the Yanks.  Lou Piniella’s option got picked up by the Cubbies.  John Main had surgery.  Brad Lidge and Cliff Lee won Comeback Players of the Year in their respective Leagues.  Johan Santana had his knee scoped.  For some reason the Mets extended Omar MInaya’s contract for four years.  Not sure what they were thinking.  The Phillies, Dodgers, and Red Sox won their series openers.  Carlos Pena (blurred vision) couldn’t finish the opener.  Troy Percival (back) wasn’t on the roster.  Tampa won their first playoff game in team history.  Evan Longoria went deep twice.  Philly took Game 2 vs. Milwaukee.   You can only throw a guy (C.C.) on short rest so often.  The Dodgers smoked the Cubs.  They are up 2-0 and heading home.  Looks like the curse will continue.  Todd Helton went under the knife on his back.
 

Sean Payton was fined $15K for criticizing refs.  Brett Favre threw 6 TDs.  Kurt Warner threw for 472 yards.  Larry Johnson ran for 198 yards and 2 TDs as KC finally won.  Cleveland beat Cincy (minus Carson Palmer) in the puke-inducing battle of Ohio.  LT did his thing against Oakland.  He loves playing them.  Buffalo and Tennessee stayed undefeated.  Denver and Dallas took their first losses.  Richard Collier, who was shot 14 times, had his leg amputated.  He’s paralyzed from the waist down.  Scott Linehan is out and Jim Haslett is in for the Rams.  Bulger got his starting gig back.  New York Jets Safety Eric Smith was suspended for a dirty hit on Anquan Boldin.  Chris Henry has been cleared to practice with the Bengals.  Fellow scumbag Cedric Benson signed on with the Bengals.  They’ll take anyone.  Lane Kiffin finally got his walking papers.  Tony Mandarich came clean on his steroid use.  Rashard Mendenhall is out for the year.  Houston signed FB Cecil Sapp.  Travis Henry got popped for a coke transaction.  Green Bay’s Cullen Jenkins is out for the year.  Lee Evans got a big, four-year extension.  Tommie Harris got suspended for the Bears game vs. Detroit for violating rules.  At least it’s against Detroit Bears fans.

Washington and Gilbert Arenas were each fined $15K for Arenas’ no-show at media day.  Shane Battier (foot) will be out several weeks.  Jason Williams retired.  Miami GM Randy Pfund stepped down.  Sam Cassell will play another year in Boston.  Ben Gordon signed a one-year deal with Chicago.  An investigation showed only Tim Donaghy as a dirty ref in the NBA.  Sure.


The Rangers cut C Petr Nedved.  Anaheim dealt D Mathieu Schneider to Atlanta for Ken Klee, Brad Larsen, and Chad Painchaud.  Then they re-signed Teemu Selanne to a two-year deal.  They also sent D Seab O’Donnell to the Kings for a draft pick.  Carolina co-owner Thomas Thewes lost his battle with leukemia.  Chicago wavied G Nikolai Khabibulin.  Pittsburgh’s Sergei Goncha wil miss 4-6 months following shoulder surgery.  Buffalo C Paul Gaustad (thumb) will miss a few weeks.  Chris Chelios (shin) will miss a few weeks.  Sergei Federov is getting some work in at Defenseman to give the Caps a little flexibility.  The Islanders signed first-rounder Josh Bailey.


#2 Oklahoma rolled on #24 TCU behind Sam Bradford (411 passing yards, 4 TDs) and Manuel Johnson (206 receiving yards, 3 TDs).  #8 Alabama knocked off #3 Georgia.  Ole Miss stunned #4 Florida despite a huge game from Percy Harvin (82 rushing, TD & 186 receiving, TD).  Michigan upset #9 Wisconsin.  #12 Penn State beat #22 Illinois.  Navy, behind Eric Kettani (175 yards), upset #16 Wake Forest.  #17 Utah (Cameron Higgins – 303 passing, 3 TDs) beat Weber State.  Maryland beat #20 Clemson.  Houston pounded #23 East Carolina behind Case Keenum’s 399 passing yards, 3 TDs.  Oklahoma is the new #1.  This weekend’s best games include:  #2 Alabama vs. 4-0 Kentucky, #4 Missouri vs. 3-1 Nebraska. #5 Texas vs. 3-1 Colorado, #7 Texas Tech vs. 3-1 Kansas State, #9 USC vs. #23 Oregon, #13 Auburn vs. #19 Vanderbilt, and #14 Ohio State vs. #18 Wisconsin.  Another Thursday, another upset as Pitt knocked off #10 USF.


Santa Clara Center John Bryant was stabbed in the back…literally.  He should make a ful recovery.  UConn freshman Nate Miles was kicked out of school for violating a restraining order which led to his arrest.


Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway.  Carl Edwards finished second.  Denny Hamlin bested Clint Bowyer and the field in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Kansas Speedway.

Vijay Singh won the $10 FedEx Cup prize.  Camilo Villegas won the Tour Championship.  Eduard Romero won the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship.  Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won the British Masters.  Lorena Ochoa won the Navistar LPGA Classic.  

Andy Roddick beat Dudi Sela in the China Open.  Jelena Jankovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova on the Women’s side.  Maria Kirilenko beat Samantah Stosur in the Hansol Korea Open.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Novak Djokovic in the Thailand Open.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.  Be sure to check out my Links Page for some great sites.

 | Posted by | Categories: College Basketball, College Football, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL | Tagged: MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL |

Ahead of the Curve

2 October 2008


Written by Lisa Danhof

Fair Warning: I’m not clairvoyant. I don’t even play one on TV. That said, it really doesn’t take a crystal ball to anticipate some changes for your team. So, with a bit of deductive reasoning, logic, and historical evaluation you can finally stop reacting and start anticipating. For once you won’t be sniped at the waiver wire, but actually be ahead of the curve.

1.  QB Brady Quinn, Cleveland Browns 18.6% owned
If your Offense scores only 46 points in four games, you are really struggling. Additionally, the Browns are only averaging 211 total yards of offense in each of the first four games. When a team is struggling this bad what do Coaches do? Bench the Quarterback and start the backup. In this case, Quinn might start sooner than we think because of Anderson’s obvious struggles, coupled with the overall lack of offensive success. If a QB struggles but the team is doing decent, he’ll get a longer leash. Unfortunately for Anderson and fortunately for Quinn, that’s not the case here. At all. Additionally, to add fuel to the fire, Quinn started taking more reps with the first team this week according to ESPN.com.

2.  RB Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers – 29.4% owned
To say the Green Bay Packers are nicked up is like calling the Titanic a mishap. Specifically the key injuries to Ryan Grant – hamstring, and Aaron Rodgers – shoulder. Here’s one of those situations that doesn’t really need my crystal ball. If your shoulder is sore, what are you going to do?? Throw the ball, which aggravates your injury more, or hand the ball off and let your running backs do the work? So look for the Packers to up their number of running plays. Also, Grant’s hamstring has been labeled as “balky”. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of that word before, but you get the context. Also, this has been an injury that has been nagging him since training camp this summer – a tough injury for a running back. It’s the combination of those two injuries and the fact that he’s averaging over 5 yards per carry that make Brandon Jackson a solid pick-up.

3.  WR Miles Austin , Dallas Cowboys– 9.4% owned
This is probably my biggest stretch of this list, but there are a couple of key factors that I couldn’t overlook when I decided to add him to the list. The first is that he’s in his third year in the league. That third year traditionally is where a Wide Receiver really starts to find his groove and has his breakout year, and Austin is almost textbook in this case. Second, he seems to be gaining the confidence of Tony Romo, as he has had multiple receptions in each of the last three games. He caught two touchdown passes last game and one the game before and is averaging a gaudy 24.1 yards per catch. He is the solid number three receiver on a high scoring offense who could at some point threaten to bump Patrick Crayton from the number two spot, or at least take away several of Crayton’s touchdowns. I see Austin as a player you can pick up now and play when the matchup is good (like against the Rams in week seven) and who also may have some big upside down the road.

Time for another edition of Fantasy Football Out on a Limb.  I scour the rosters to select a player who I feel will outperform a higher profile player in that given week.  I base my decisions on matchups, how the players are trending, and the ever-important hunch.  To mix things up I’ll occasionally do some two on one matchups or even pit RB or WR duos against each other.  Sometimes I’ll spot a player some points. 

Scoring
6 points for rushing or receiving TD
4 points for a passing TD
0.1 points per yard for rushing or receiving
0.05 points per passing yard. 

Last Week
Donovan McNabb
(16.6) beat Carson Palmer (DNP – Thanks Carson) WHICH I LOST.
Jamal Lewis (15.4) beat  Michael Turner (5.5) WHICH I WON.
Jonathan Stewart (11.2) beat Darren McFadden (3.7) WHICH I WON.
Robert Meachem (15.9) beat Santonio Holmes (12.1) WHICH I WON.
Isaac Bruce (11.4) beat Hines Ward (5.7) WHICH I WON.
Super Stetch:  Jason Campbell (19.85) beat Kerry Collins (10.15) WHICH I LOST.

Regular Picks:  4-1
Super Stretch Picks:  0-1 
Overall:  4-2
Breakdown: QB: 0-2, RB 2-0, WR: 2-0
Season Record
Regular Picks:  13-7
Super Stretch Picks:  1-3
Overall:  14-10
Breakdown: QB: 3-2, RB: 7-3, WR: 4-5

Quarterback
    
Peyton Manning over Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers
I’ll take the Old Guy to take down not one, but two of the young, upstart QBs that have taken the league by storm.  Manning should have had time in bye week to continue to heal and get on page with his wideouts.  I see him reminding the leauge that he’s the top dog with Brady out.  Cutler faces Tampa, which should provide a tougher matchup than Houston for the Colts.  Rivers faces Miami, and I’m guessing it will be run-heavy.  Just to spell it out, Peyton isn’t taking on the combo, he’s just facing two opponents.

Running Backs
  
Steve Slaton
over Ronnie Brown
Yeah, I’ll do it.  I’ll take on Mr. 5 TDs with a Rookie.  Brown will not do that agasint San Diego.  It ain’t happening.  San Diego knows they need this game to get back in the hunt, and they will come to play.  Meanwhile, Slaton gets to face Indy without Bob Sanders.  They are a completely different Defense without him.  The thing I like about Slaton is that he gets yardage on the ground and through the air.

  
Matt Forte over Reggie Bush
I’ll go with another rookie in this matchup.  I expect a heavy dose of Forte vs. Detroit this week to keep Megatron and Roy Williams off the field.  Minnesota is stout against the Run, but that’s not where I see Reggie doing his work this week.  With Deuce back, he’ll get the bulk of the carries.  I see about 30 rushing yards for Reggie.  He’ll probably catch around ten passes, but will only muster up 70 yards.  The Vikes will keep him out of the endzone so if Forte can score, he’ll only need 40 yards or so to win.  Of course, the Vikes and Saints battle in primetime so Bush and AP could get in a shootout, leaving me with a big, fat L.  We’ll see.

Wide Receiver
  
Terrell Owens
over Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall has been an absolute beast.  I may be crazy to pick against him.  He’s facing Tampa though, who could slow him down.  Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off its first Loss.  T.O. started whining a bit.  In an effort from T.O. becoming a distraction, I see a heavy workload for the league’s biggest Wide Re-Diva. 

  
Marvin Harrison over Roy Williams
I think the bye week allowed Peyton and Marvin the time to get their chemistry back.  With Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, and now Anthony Gonzalez drawing the attention, Marvin will be able to slip into holes in Houston’s D and get some production.  Roy Williams is clearly second-fiddle to Megatron in Detroit and I’m not expecting a real strong showing from the passing attack.  I can see Detroit using Rudi and Kevin Smith to try and win the time of possession battle.

SUPER STRETCH
 
Mewelde Moore over Edgerrin James
With Willie Parker banged up and Mendenhall out for the year, Mewelde gets the chance to shine.  They probably won’t run a ton without their top two backs, but Moore should factor in heavily in the passing attack.  Edge has a tough matchup vs. Buffalo.  Plus, he’s yielding the TDs to Tim Hightower.


Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties