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

NFL Week 17 Fill-ins

28 December 2007

Some of you may still be in it this weekend.  If your team wrapped everything up, they may rest some players.  I’ll try to uncover some guys you can plug in.

QB
Todd Collins
- Washington is playing for their playoff lives.  Dallas doesn’t have the greatest secondardy.  Terence Newman may not play.  Todd Collins can be your savior.
Cleo Lemon -  Miami gets to finish off with Cincinnati.  Even Miami could put up decent numbers against them.

RB
Najeh Davenport - I jokingly mentioned him last week following his strong Thursday night performance.  His matchup isn’t great, but if you lost Willie Parker or McGahee for the year, Najeh is a nice play.
Kenton Keith-  I see a light load for Addai this week.  Kenton could be a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners.
WR

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Photo courtesy of James D. Smith/Icon SMI

Santana Moss -  He’s healthy and in a nice groove with Todd Collins.  I see no reason why he wouldn’t deliver this week. 
Ted Ginn, Jr. -  I have a feeling Ginn, Jr. is going to finish the season on a high note against Cincinnati.

TE
Zach Miller - JaMarcus Russell will use Zach Miller as a security blanket this weke.

K
Shayne Graham
-  He should be busy agaisnt Miami.

DEF
Washington 
- Two words.  Brad Johnson.

NFL Week 16 Fill-ins

21 December 2007

It’s most likely your Super Bowl.  If you aren’t that lucky, maybe you’re playing for 3rd and your money back.  Maybe you’re just playing for pride.  No matter what, you want to win this week.  If your lineup is hurting, I’m here to offer some other options.

QB
Donovan McNabb
- Chances are you haven’t counted on him for some time.  Well, this week is as good as any as he play New Orleans.  Sure, the Eagles are dead, but they are still playing for pride.  

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Photo courtesy of Margaret Bowles/Icon SMI
 
Vince Young - It’s time for VY to shrug off that Madden Curse and put up a solid game agaisnt the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS.  I get the feeling he runs one in this week.

RB
Najeh Davenport - I see him getting 167 total yards and 2 TDs after Willie Parker breaks his leg.  OK, time to get serious.  Here are my real picks. 
Rudi Johnson -  If I had Rudi, I’d hitch my cart to him this weekend against Cleveland.  He’s been mostly junk this year, but I see him coming through huge for those lucky (or unlucky given his earlier play) enough to have him.
Kolby Smith - Since his first start , Kolby hasn’t been all that impressive.  This week he faces Detroit.  I see Kolby getting a TD as a stocking stuffer.
Lamont Jordan - I’m not loving his matchup against Jacksonville, but if you need a warm body, Jordan is your guy.  If you’re really, really hurting Dominic Rhodes may get you a couple points.

WR
Roydell Williams 
-  He’s played well recently averaging 66 yards and a TD the past three weeks.  I think he has a solid game against Detroit.
Kevin Curtis -  The highlight of my fantasy football season this year was starting Curtis in his 11 catch, 221 yard, 3 TD game against Detroilet.  Curtis has only scored twice since that outburst.  I think this is the weekend he returns to the endzone.  Hopefully, he called up Chad Johnson for celebration ideas since with only 6 TDs, Ocho is sure to have some that he won’t get to this year.

TE
Chris Baker - With wet noodle arm Chad Pennington back in the starting lineup, look for Baker to be busy on Sunday. 

K
Shaun Suisham
-  Shaun has 9 FGs over the past 4 weeks, including three in the horrible conditions at Giants Stadium last week.  He’ll find it a little cozier in the Metrodump.

DEF
Arizona
- One word.  Atlanta.
Tennessee - Three words.  New York Jets.
Kansas City - One word.  Detroit.

NFL Week 15 Fill-ins

14 December 2007

Has the injury bug hit you?  Are you faced with bad matchups?  Well, maybe I can help.  Here are some guys you can plug and play this weekend.

QB
Trent Edwards 
- He threw four TDs last week.  He gets to play Cleveland this week.  Throw in the fact that he’s throwing to Lee Evans in December, one would think he’d be a decent play this week.
Jeff Garcia - If you league penalizes for INTs, then Jeff is your guy.  He just doesn’t throw that many picks.  He should have a solid game against an Atlanta team that is imploding in front of our eyes.

RB
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Photo Courtesy of John Pyle/Icon SMI

Frank Gore - Can you believe it’s come to this with Frank.  However, with guys like Ryan Grant, Earnest Graham, Jamal Lewis, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Edge, etc. having better years than Frank, he isn’t a weekly start anymore.  He should be counted on against Cincinnati though.
Aaron Stecker -  If you’re hurting, at least he’s a warm body.  One coming off a 100 yard performance against Atlanta.  OK, it’s Atlanta, but New Orleans has it’s passing attack working so well that the run should be open.

WR
Deion Branch 
-  Seattle has all but abandoned the run.  Their passing attack is really clicking.  Branch has scored two of the past three weeks and should do well against Carolina.
Anthony Gonzalez -  Yeah, I’m a week late on this one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plug him in against Oakland.  Oakland defends the pass fairly well, but it doesn’t matter when Peyton is your QB.

TE
Robert Royal - 
He scored twice last week so if you’re hurting, why not ride the hot hand?  Plus he faces Cleveland.

K
Josh Scobee
-  He’s kicked 9 FGs over the past three games.  Facing Pittsburgh, he could be looking at multiple field goal attempts should the Jags sputter in the red zone.

DEF
Cincinnati - 
I’m not real confident in this pick.  The top D’s this weekend should be NE, SD, GB, SEA, TENN, INDY, TB, MN, and BAL.  Chances are you have one of those D’s.  If I was really hurting and gambling, I would take Cincy and hope they force some turnovers.

NFL Week 14 Fill-ins

7 December 2007

Has the injury bug hit you?  Are you faced with bad matchups?  Well, maybe I can help.  Here are some guys you can plug and play this weekend.

QB
Marc Bulger 
- If he stays healthy, he should be solid against Cincinnati.  He’s an injury risk, but if you’re in need this weekend, Bulger’s your guy.
Jon Kitna - Just when you’re thinking about benching him, he has a home game against a Dallas secondary that isn’t as good as they looked against Brett Favre.  He lost Roy Williams, but he still should be solid.

RB
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Photo courtesy of Chris Livingston/Icon SMI

Shaun Alexander - Seattle has to know that a key to a long run in the playoffs is a strong Shaun Alexander.  I would look to them to keep getting SA back on track.
Jerious Norwood -  He was solid last week, and facing New Orleans is a good way to follow that up. 

WR
Calvin Johnson
-  With Roy Williams injured, the Lions will turn to their prized rookie for more production.  His fantasy owners will reap the rewards.
Chris Henry -  He hasn’t been arrested in a while so Henry makes a strong play against a weak St. Louis secondary.

TE
Benjamin Watson - 
He hasn’t been too involved in the offense lately, but against Pittsburgh I see him as a hot read on a blitz package.  I think Watson will be a big factor.

K
Mike Nugent
-  He’s kicked 11 FGs over the past four weeks.  He should get opportunities against Cleveland.  He’s a solid play this week.

DEF
Buffalo
 - They aren’t a great defense, but Miami stinks.  They should be able to get some QB pressure and force some turnovers.

NFL Week 13 Fill-ins

30 November 2007

Has the injury bug hit you?  Are you faced with bad matchups?  Well, maybe I can help.  Here are some guys you can plug and play this weekend.

QB
Jason Campbell
- Campbell makes his 3rd appearance on the fill-ins.  Hey, there are only so many QBs that aren’t no-brainers and are still start worthy.  This week he faces Buffalo, who isn’t very good.  I just have a feeling Washington is going to have a big game this week for Sean Taylor, and then just fall into the tanks. 
Gus Frerotte - Frerotte is a risky pick.  He’s been far from spectacular this year.  However, he is facing a bad Atlanta team.  If you’re in a league where all the decent backups are gone, Gus is your guy.

RB
Travis Henry 
- Who would have guessed that Henry would have fallen so far as to be a fill-in guy?  Well, that’s what he is.  He says his knee is healthy.  Oakland sure is a nice team to make a return against.  I think I could rack up twenty yards against them.
Jesse Chatman -  He’s been dealing with some injury issues, but seems to be tough enough to gut them out.  He should find running against the Jets a whole lot easier than the Steelers.  I think he’s going to help the Dolphins pick up victory #1.

WR
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Photo courtesy of Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI
Javon Walker – Javon is another risky one.  He didn’t catch a pass last week nor play many plays.  However, the field conditions weren’t the greatest.  I would imagine it should be fine in Oakland.  Look for him to be more involved.
Sidney Rice - Passing on Detroit is not like taking candy from a baby.  Who ever came up with that phrase?  Have you ever tried to take anything from a baby?  They cry until they are red in the face.  Sorry I went off on a tangent there.  What I mean to say is Detroit’s secondary sucks.  It’s so bad that Sidney Rice may be a viable option for your third receiver.  Not a knock on him, but his QB is far from consistent. 
TE
Leonard Pope 
-  Dude’s 6’8″.  He hasn’t scored in a few weeks.  I can see hm doing so against Cleveland.

 

K
Steven Gostkowski 
- Besides the fact that I play against him this week, there is another reason I think he’ll be solid this week.  Baltimore has a decent defense.  If they learn anything from Philly is to really work on Moss.  I think the Ravens can stall a couple drives in the red zone and leave Gotskowski with a couple FGs and a handful of PATs.

DEF
Washington
 - I think the defense is going to pull together and come up big in honor of their fallen teammate.  It’s tough to replace a Pro Bowl safety, especially when it isn’t for just an injury.  I just get the feeling they will come up huge.

NFL Week 12 Fill-ins

23 November 2007

Has the injury bug hit you?  Are you faced with bad matchups?  Well, maybe I can help.  Here are some guys you can plug-in this weekend.

QB
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Photo courtesy of Chris Livingston/Icon SMI

David Garrard - Garrard looked good last week in his return from injury.  Getting to face Buffalo at home is a nice followup.
Matt Schaub - I told you to use him last week.  Well, keep him in because he faces Cleveland.

RB
Kolby Smith
 - Out with LJ & Priest.  In with Kolby.  He gets to face a soft Oakland run defense in his first start.  Nice.
Cedric Benson - Denver’s run defense has been weak.  Benson’s been running well.  That should be a nice recipe for fantasy points.

WR
Donte Stallworth
- I get the feeling he torches his former team.
Andre Davis - Andre Johnson can’t have all the receptions against Cleveland.

TE
L.J. Smith
-  He has 8 catches in the past two games.  You know they will be playing from behind and passing.

K
Shaun Suisham
- 10FGs in the last three games.  Sign him up.

DEF
Arizona
 - Two words. San Francisco.  Enough said.

NFL Week 11 Fill-ins

16 November 2007

Has the injury bug hit you?  Are you faced with bad matchups?  Well, maybe I can help.  Here are some guys you can plug-in this weekend.

QB
Matt Schaub – Yes, Schaub should return after missing the Oakland game prior to Houston’s bye, but more importantly his favorite weapon, Andre Johnson, is back.
Kurt Warner – I hope you listened when I told you to use him last week (259 yards and 3 TDs).  If not, get him out there this week.  He faces a Cincinnati team that gets arrested just slightly more than it allows quarterbacks to have monster games.
Kyle Boller – If you’re really hurting, Boller may be a decent play against Cleveland. 

RB
Laurence Maroney
– Has he been wasting away on your bench?  Well, fret not.  He should be useful against Buffalo.  He had 103 yards against the Bills in Week 3.
Chester Taylor – Now that AD Peterson is out with a knee injury, Chester gets his starting gig back.  Facing a weak Oakland run defense helps matters.

WR
Andre Johnson
– You held on to him for a reason.  Put him back out there.  He faces a soft New Orleans team.
Chris Henry – He’s back.  I wanted to give the smooth criminal a week before I trusted him.  He went for 99 yards against Baltimore, and could be in line for a decent game against Arizona.  He’s too good to be covered by nickle cornerbacks.  The only drawback is he could get arrested over the weekend.
Mark Clayton – He caught 8 balls last week against Cincinnati.  He should be busy again vs. Cleveland.

TE
Alge Crumpler
-  He returned last week and scored a TD.  If you’re starting someone like Jeff King, Alge should be a nice upgrade.

K
Shayne Graham
– Nothing makes you a hotter commodity than kicking seven FGs in a one game.  That is besides kicking eight like Rob Bironas did earlier this year.

DEF
Oakland
– They are facing Minnesota…without Adrian Peterson…with Tarvaris Jackson.  
Philadelphia – Their defense hasn’t been as solid as it has been in past years, but facing Miami and rookie John Beck may bring back memories of Gang Green.

NFL Week 10 Fill-ins

9 November 2007

 

 

QB

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Photo Courtesy of Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI
Steve McNair – If he can stay in one piece he can put up some numbers against Cincinnati.
Kurt Warner – I’m beating the same drum.  Start borderline QBs against Detroit, who allows plenty through the air.
J.P. Losman – OK, I mentioned him last week, but you can trot him out again against Miami.

 

RB
Priest Holmes – With LJ missing this week, Priest should be a solid play against a weak Denver run defense.
Warrick Dunn – Jerious Norwood will likely miss this week’s game against Carolina.  That said, Dunn becomes startable this week.

WR
David Patten – He’s had at least 81 yards in three of his past four games.  He’s got an easy matchup against St. Louis.
Derrick Mason – He’s catching a ton of balls (almost 8 a game) for decent yardage (just over 70).  He’s only reached the endzone twice.  That could change this week because Cincy is bad.

TE
Tony Scheffler – He’s averaging almost 5 grabs for 41 yards over the past three games with two TDs.  If you’re really hurting at TE, maybe he can help.

K
Jason Hanson – He’s averaging 3 FGs a game the past three games.  Gotta like that out of your kicker.

D
Chicago – They have not lived up to the hype this year.  However, against Oakland, they can come back to form.
Atlanta – Carolina is treading on thin ice at QB.  They are using old man Vinny Testaverde, who’s hurting.  This may be the week to see what ATL D can do for you.

Week 9 Fill-ins

2 November 2007

Is the bye week hitting you hard?  How about injuries?  How about just plain bad matchups?  Here are some guys you can plug-in this weekend.

QB
Jay Cutler – He’s been pretty solid lately (at least 248 yards the past two weeks with 4 TD passes), and facing a weak Detroit secondary.
Jason Campbell – He hasn’t done much lately (only 757 yards passing the past four weeks), but a meeting with the Jets could change that.
J.P. Losman – He’s back.  Witness the 82 yard bomb to Lee Evans.  Just in time to face Cincinnati. 

RB
Rudi Johnson – He should be back.  Maybe you can justify your 1st round pick again.
Ryan Grant – Have the Packers finally found their guy?  Not sure, but he looked good against Denver.  Although, hasn’t everybody?

WR
Jerricho Cotchery – Laveranues Coles will likely miss the Washington game because of concussion.  Cotchery will likely be targeted more.
D.J. Hackett – He’s back.  At least we hope he is.  He could be a solid play against Cleveland. Just pay close attention to this one.
Santana  Moss – I’ve been burned by him twice so I don’t have much faith, but he should be able to turn it on against the Jets.

TE
Vernon Davis – He caught six passes for 71 yards and a TD last week.  I think he’s safe to play.  Knock on wood.

K
Sebastian Janikowski  - He had three FGs vs. Tennessee last week.  I expect more of the same against Houston.

D
Washington – Did someone drop them after allowing 52 to the Patriots?  If so grab em.  They are still a good defense, and get to face Kellen Clemens and the Jets. 
Oakland – Things would have to be pretty bad, but they have a decent matchup against Houston (minus a slew of weapons) at home.

There you have it.  If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment.


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