Due to Chris Henry's death the Fantasy Playbook on 1530 Homer was cancelled. Here are my notes...
MANAGING THE SITUATION
GO WITH GOT YOU THERE – Just because the stakes on higher than they have been all season, you shouldn’t get hasty when setting your lineup. It’s tough to play one of your struggling studs over a waiver wire gem with the world’s best match-up. But I am not sitting Randy Moss this week for Hakeem Nicks, regardless of what happened last week. You invest highly in guys for a reason. Benching a high-draft pick in the playoffs and watching him blowup is a mistake I’m not willing make.
QB Kurt Warner (ARI @ DET) – Those fantasy owners that were fortunate enough to survive the dud laid by Warner last week at San Fran, will be rewarded this time around. The Cardinals still need a win to wrap up the NFC North and they are looking for someone to take it out on. Who better for Warner than a Lions’ defense that has allowed a league-high 29 passing touchdowns and 272 yards per game through the air?
RB Knowshon Moreno (DEN vs. OAK) – The rookie runner just keeps getting better and now he gets a Raiders defense that has given the fourth most fantasy points to running backs this season. Add to it that Correll Buckhalter, who splits carries with Moreno, is likely to miss the game with an ankle injury and the sky is the limit for the Broncos’ running back in Week 15.
RB Marion Barber (DAL @ NO) – After watching him getting plugged three times from 1-yard out in last week’s game vs. San Diego, I no longer consider Barber a decent RB2 option. He hasn’t seen the end zone in six straight and still has just one 100-yard effort on the season. He’s headed to the bench until further notice.
WR Dwayne Bowe (KC vs. CLE) – The gifted Chiefs’ wideout is set to return from his league-issued four-game suspension and has a stellar match-up with the Browns. He could find the end zone and post decent numbers. However, I am not confident enough with the stakes so high in recommending for your lineup. Owners need to take a wait-and-see approach.
QB Tom Brady (finger/ribs/shoulder) – A week after being a game-time decision, the dinged up Patriots’ QB returned to practice on Thursday and appears to be set to face Buffalo. Start him with confidence.
QB Vince Young (hamstring) – Young also returned to practice on Thursday with a nagging hamstring injury. He’s expected to Sunday vs. Miami and is a borderline option as a QB1 in that match-up.
WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) – The elite receiver was limited in practice again on Thursday as he deals with a MCL sprain suffered in Monday night’s loss to the 49ers. Barring a setback all signs point to him playing in Sunday’s tilt with the Lions.
WR Mike Sims-Walker (calf) – After being a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, the Jaguars’ wideout is listed as probable for tonight’s game against the Colts. Still after mustering just six catches for 64 yards over his last four games combine he’s nothing more than an average flex play.
WR Nate Burleson (ankle) – He’s been ruled out for Week 15 and may not play the rest of the season. Give teammate TJ Houshmandzadeh a slight boost in value.
HANDING OUT THE HARDWARE
With the fantasy season winding down it’s time to hand out our awards, this week we look at the candidates at RB…
MVP – Chris Johnson - Eight straight 100-yard games; Became only the fifth back in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 13 games. Now on pace for 2,001 rushing yards and 2,482 yards from scrimmage, the latter of which would break Marshall Faulk's record.
Biggest Surprise – Cedric Benson - The workhorse has rewarded the owners that invested an early pick in a big way. With a strong finish the Bengals’ back could finish with 1,500 yards and 10+ touchdowns on the ground, making him a first round pick in 2010.
Biggest Bust – Matt Forte – PPR owners still are clinging on, but those that drafted Forte in standard leagues are likely out of the playoffs. He’s managed just one 100-yard game, has scored in just three games, and has yet to catch a touchdown. He’ll need a big finish to get to 1000 yards rushing. Not what you were hoping for with your first round pick.
Most Improved – Ray Rice – He’s already rushed for 1000 yards and has a team-high 68 catches for 652 yards and eight total TD’s. Rice is a top five RB heading into next year’s draft.
Next Year’s Breakout Candidate – Chris Wells - The Cards’ top pick is slowly becoming their option in the backfield. Wells will emerge as a solid fantasy starting option during his sophomore campaign.