Did you miss my fantasy segment with Mo Egger on Thursday on ESPN 1530? Here are my notes...
(Conditions owners need to keep their eyes on for this week)
--Ravens at Browns (snow showers/26 degrees/19 MPH winds)
--Panthers at Steelers (snow showers/26 degrees/13 MPH winds)
--Jets at Bears (snow showers/22 degrees/12 MPH winds)
--Patriots at Bills (chance of snow/22 degrees/11 MPH winds)
--Vikings at Eagles (chance of snow/25 degrees/11 MPH winds)
(Some key injuries that could have an impact in Week 16)
QB Aaron Rodgers (concussion) – With the team’s playoff hopes dangling in the balance Rodgers returned to practice on Wednesday as is expected to start a week after sitting out with a second concussion on the season. The Giants have been pretty solid throughout the season against quarterbacks, but owners shouldn’t hesitate riding their franchise quarterback with league titles on the line.
RB Adrian Peterson (thigh), QB Brett Favre (concussion) – It what proved to be the biggest surprises on the injury wire a week ago Adrian Peterson sat out versus the Bears, but Brett Favre started in the loss Monday night. Favre was knocked out with a concussion and will likely sit this week at Philly. Peterson did not practice Wednesday, but the team is hoping to get him back this week. Owners need to pay attention and proceed with caution.
WR Andre Johnson (ankle) – After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak has pegged Johnson as a “gametime decision” for Sunday’s visit to Denver. Johnson has played through an ailing ankle injury most of the season, but with the team now out of the mix for a playoff spot there is a chance he can finally give in and rest it.
WR Austin Collie (concussion) – Collie was placed on injured reserve earlier this week after suffering his third concussion of the season. While playing, Collie was often the focus of Manning. With him sidelined expect Pierre Garcon and Blair White to once again see a boost in their fantasy value as their targets are sure to increase.
QB Mark Sanchez (shoulder) – The Jets’ signal caller has torn cartilage in his shoulder, an injury he can play through but that is clearly bothering him. With just one TD pass over the last four weeks Sanchez should remain sidelined and with the Bears on the slate owners may also want to consider sitting Santonio Holmes as well.
(Guys that need to get in and out of your lineup)
QB Matt Ryan (vs. NO) – The Falcons’ quarterback has thrown for multiple touchdowns in six of his last eight games and averages two TD passes per game and 258 yards per game this year at home. With the Saints in town and the NFC South title and home-field advantage on the line look for Ryan to match those numbers if not do better on Monday night despite going against a defense that has only allowed 10 PaTD’s all year.
RB Marshawn Lynch (@SEA) – Lynch has caused fantasy owners plenty of headaches this season, but this week will be his chance to provide some relief. After scoring four times in the past three weeks and averaging 5.0 yards per carry a week ago I like his chances against a Bucs’ D that is giving up 176 total yards and nearly a touchdown per game to running backs.
RB Jonathan Stewart (@PIT) – The Panthers’ workhorse has been on fire down stretch, rushing for 460 yards and a score over his last four games. Look for the streak to come to an end this week against a Steelers’ defense that only allows 10.9 fantasy points per week to running backs. He’ll get the carries, but won’t muster much with him. Stewart is a low-end RB3 at best this week.
WR Chad Ochocinco (vs. SD) – With the Bengals looking towards next year and Ochocinco dealing with an ankle injury, the veteran receiver is only expected to play about half of the team’s snaps. This news coupled with a tough matchup against the Chargers is enough to keep him on the pine in any format.
2011 FANTASY DRAFT
(What will the early rounds look like in next season’s fantasy drafts?)
--The Top 5
Next year promises to be the most wide-open first round in the history of fantasy football. A stud running back is still a top priority though with a top five pick. Arian Foster will be the favorite to be fantasy’s top pick after a breakout campaign with 1,895 total yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with 60 receptions. Adrian Peterson is still my No. 2 back with Maurice-Jones Drew, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Jamal Charles, and Peyton Hillis fighting it out for the final three spots.
--What about Michael Vick?
Many will view Vick as fantasy’s top quarterback and that should put him into the mix as a mid first-round selection. You can argue with his gaudy passing and rushing numbers. However, his style of play makes him a huge injury risk and could translate into Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning as safer picks. Regardless, I still subscribe to the philosophy of grabbing a starting quarterback early on. If it is Vick you will want to have a decent backup as an insurance policy.
--When will wideouts go?
Andre Johnson has separated himself as the best in the league, but the gap has closed. Owners should find good value through the middle rounds of the draft and still be able to get a WR1 in late rounds three and early round four. I find value in guys that had down seasons like Larry Fitzgerald or Miles Austin.
--How do you treat tight ends?
There are definitely some players that produce big numbers, but overall the position is as deep as it has ever been. I look for value heading into 2011, which means taking chances are players that missed most this season with injury (i.e. Dallas Clark or Jermichael Finley) or take my chances with a young player (i.e. Brandon Pettigrew, Jermaine Gresham, Marcedes Lewis) with high upside.
Fantasy Football, NFL