Ah, late November football is here! The smell of Turkey, the gathering of family and friends, and of course some of the biggest fantasy games of the season. Yes it may all seem like cheer and thoughts of what we are most thankful for, but behind it all is the stress and strain of crunch time in fantasy leagues worldwide. Well I will take this time to wish all of you a happy holiday, and give you some advice on who to start this week, and who, well may just want to sit and enjoy the meal instead of playing.
I understand full well how many band-aids we are all putting on our teams. Big injuries have plagued many of us, and it is taking luck and being quick on the draw for pick-ups to save the day. Hey, how many of you took my advice and added Kevin Smith last week? Well I did, and as you will see later, he has my vote to keep working until we see Jahvid Best again. So, no Peterson, McFadden, Cutler, Schaub and a host of others, how is this hurting you? Well, don’t panic, and read up and enjoy the article! Good luck to all and Happy Thanksgiving from “The Shark”
Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Lions: The “experts” hate to use the term “statement game” but let’s be honest, Green Bay and its pursuit of perfection have a big challenge ahead here. What do I think? I think Mr. Rodgers makes an example of the Lions and shows the NFL how serious these Packers are. No matter what it will be a shootout and playing Rodgers is like Wyatt Earp drafting Doc Holliday, clearly the best gun on Earth!
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs 49ers: Harbaugh vs Harbaugh, the mighty upstart 49ers vs the rough and tough Ravens and blah, and blah. This is about who is the bigger story at QB. Yes, Alex Smith has been good this year for San Fran, but Flacco has showed poise and patience in big games. Over his last 4 he is averaging just under 300 yards per game, and will need to be busy this week as San Fran brings in one of the best run defenses in the league. His WR corp is getting better each week, so go with Joe.
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs Dolphins: No place like home for the holiday as the song would say, and Romo and his Cowboys will go streak for streak against the ‘Phins. This is a real big chance for Dallas to snag the NFC East lead here too as the Giants have to play in New Orleans on Monday night. Romo has been hot over the last 3, and the Dolphins are much better on the run then through the air, so he should be hot yet again.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Jets: Hey, Jesse James and Billy The Kid did it with guns, so how did Ryan Fitzpatrick manage to pull off such a robbery against the Bills organization? At one point they were 4-2 and Fitz grabbed a 60+ million dollar deal. How has he said thanks? Over his last 4 games just 4 TDs while throwing 8 INTs, including a 15-31 1 TD, 2 INT effort against these same Jets. The Bills have come back to Earth, and the Jets are way too desperate, at home as well. It is looking bad here.
Matt Leinart, Texans at Jaguars: 1 career TD, yes you read that correct 1! It may be the holiday season, but not the time to get cute. There are other options on the wire if you are hurting. I beg everyone not to try this yet.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Chiefs: The Chiefs defense played a pretty nice first half vs. the Pats last week, but had no offense to keep them close. Ben has a banged up thumb, is on the road, and there is always a chance at a letdown. The Steelers will have to help him with running, and the defense will keep them in the game. Ben will be decent, but not great.
Michael Bush, Raiders vs Bears: The injury to RB Darren McFadden may have hurt some fantasy owners, but has been huge for Bush. Over his last 4 games he has posted 461 yards rushing, 9 catches for 150 yards and 3 total TDs. Bush is a nice mix of power and speed and has been excellent for the Raiders during the playoff push. The Bears play good defense, but this one should be a ground game. As long as McFadden remains out, you play Bush, and you will love him.
Kevin Smith, Lions vs Packers: Am I jumping the gun? Nope! Last week Smith was on my Waiver Wire list, and I grabbed him in 2 leagues, only to see him drop 3 TDs on the Panthers. Smith has always been a decent talent, with good hands ( 97 career catches ), and has good speed. His only question mark is durability, but with Jahvid Best out again, he will stay busy. The Packers defense has been allowing RB points lately, and although Smith may not drop 3 TDs this week, he will get you enough to be a good start, so use him.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles vs Patriots: The Eagles need to win them all pretty much to have a shot at the playoffs, and that should mean loads of McCoy. He is the leading rusher in the NFL, and has double digit TDs as well as good reception numbers. He has scored a TD in every game but one, and well, he missed that by one yard. McCoy is a no-brainer every week, so I should not have to tell you what to do here.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns at Bengals: I will admit that I really like what I have seen over the last 2 weeks. Over 200 yards rushing, 4 receptions and a TD are good numbers for any Brown, especially in the running game. The thing I do not like this week is the tough Bengal rush defense. This guy deserves a shot here in Cleveland, and may see more, but not for you and not here. He is a guy you use per match up, but becoming a decent option.
Toby Gerhart, Vikings at Falcons: Toby has been a good change of pace back for the Vikings, but this is not a great spot to try him. Sure, Peterson owners may not have a choice, but remember this Falcons team held Chris Johnson to just 11 yards on 10 carries last week. Gerhart can get some catches and may do a little something, but I feel this will be a long day for the Vikings overall.
Chiefs RBs vs Steelers: This in one crazy backfield, and at any time it can be Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle, LeRon McClain, or Dexter McCluster. All of that is equal to zero really, as none of these backs ever go off, and added the tough Steelers defense, I beg of you to stay away.
Wide Receiver/ Tight End
Marques Colston, Saints vs Giants: He is back in playing shape and his big frame should spell problems for the Ginats this week. The Saints offense should have little problem with a defense that was beaten last week by Vince Young. Imagine what Drew Brees can do, I’m sure Colston is!
Calvin Johnson, Lions vs Packers: Yes I keep going back to this game, and it should be full of scoring, much like your turkey full of stuffing. Megatron has looked a little more like mega-doppler the last 2 weeks, on the radar but not anything to bank on. This week it should all change, and he should be ready for some end zone action again. Do you really think Matt Stafford can keep having 4 and 5 TD games and not include ‘Tron?
Torrey Smith, Ravens vs 49ers: With the focus still falling on Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin, this rookie should be seeing more action. He is making huge plays, including his game winning TD catch last week while dropping 6 catches and 165 yards on the Bengals. For years the Ravens offense always has seemed to be one player short of spectacular, and this could finally be that guy. Roll with him here.
Eric Decker, Broncos at Chargers: Yes, he looks good when he gets one, but can you really keep gambling? In the last 2 weeks he has just one catch, which was a 56 yard TD pass. This team is run, run, run, with maybe a desperate pass once in a while. Decker may not only be a no start, but he may now be a border line cut. Stay away from any WR for the Broncos unless they go back to Kyle Orton, oh wait, he’s gone too!
Mario Manningham, Giants at Saints: For all of us who loved him last week, how happy were we to see 1 catch for 4 yards? Victor Cruz is becoming the stand out play maker here, and Hakeem Nicks is still number 1. Manningham gets some TDs, but it is usually grouped with very low catch and yardage numbers. It could be a shootout here, but even that won’t guarantee anything.
Earl Bennett, Bears at Raiders: The old tale says that when one twin gets hurt, the other feels it. My question has to be, just how bad is Earl Bennett’s thumb hurting right now? Cutler and Bennett have looked like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison the last few weeks, but with Cutler down, Bennett will be in trouble, and not because he is wearing orange shoes. Bench him until he shows any signs of life.
Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is the place to do your shopping!
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings: He does average over 4 yards per carry for his career and can catch passes. It is not known how long Adrian Peterson will be out for, so you may need him.
Kyle Orton, QB, Free Agent: As of the time of this print Orton was not yet claimed, but his possible suitors are Chicago, Houston or Kansas City. All 3 of the teams have the talent for him to do some things with, and 2 of those teams are in the playoff hunt. If he comes in quick he is smart enough to pick up an offensive scheme and go to work.
C. J. Spiller, RB, Bills: RB Fred Jackson was last seen wearing a monster-sized ice pack on his calf, and although Spiller wasn’t magical in his playing time, he is next in line. He can catch passes and is real fast, so he may be worth a look if you need someone.
Editor’s note: Jackson has been ruled out this week.
John Kuhn, FB, Packers: Did I really just say grab a FB? Well James Starks may miss this week’s game and Ryan Grant has been dreadful this year. Kuhn is the best backfield pass option they have, and can steal a goal line carry or 2. I would not be all that surprised to see Kuhn get 2 TDs in goal line this week. It is a reach, but for 12 team leagues, he is as solid as any back up running back.
Here it is fans. Another week of advice and pickups! Do with it what you will, but also remember to have a great Thanksgiving. I will see you all next week.
If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected]