FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Pick-up Joint: Week 6
John Tuvey
October 9, 2012
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Top Adds For Week 5
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots 61%
Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals 55%
Jackie Battle, RB, Chargers 54%
Greg Zuerlein, K, Rams 52%
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins 52%
Total Week 5 Touchdowns: 0  
Top Drops For Week 5
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets 42%
Nate Kaeding, K, Chargers 38%
Tashard Choice, RB, Bills 24%
Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys 22%
Kevin Smith, RB, Lions 21%
Total Week 5 Touchdowns: 0  

NOTHING BUT TROUBLE

Alex Green, RB, Packers
Cedric Benson has the Lisfranc sprain and could miss the remainder of the season, and anyone who watched the Packers’ loss in Indy saw Green look extremely quick when Ced’s injury provided him with an opportunity. Before you blow your entire FAAB on Green, consider the Pack’s upcoming schedule: at Houston, at St. Louis, a very cushy home date with the Jaguars, and a home game against Arizona. Three of those teams offer tough run defenses, making Green an iffy play at best. Add in John Kuhn’s goal line work and the fact that Green Bay doesn’t run the ball much anyway and it feels like you’re wasting that FAAB..

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Cardinals
With Ryan Williams joining Beanie Wells on IR there’s a feature back job available in Arizona. Of course, being the feature back in Arizona is a bit like being the starting center on the Lilliputian Olympic basketball squad: sounds good, but the productivity will be lacking. Actually, LSH will likely share at least some of the workload with William Powell and Alfonso Smith so that’s one strike against his fantasy prospects. Strike two is a schedule that, after facing Buffalo this week, sees the Cardinals banging heads with teams ranking first and second in fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs. And strike three is an Arizona line and offensive scheme that falls significantly short in the realm of offering help to fantasy running backs; only the Titans have produced fewer fantasy points out of the running back position, and now the Cardinals are down to their third string. This feels like hopping on a souped-up bicycle and entering a motorcycle race.

OPEN FOR SWAPPING

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
One of my favorite preseason sleepers has remained nestled snuggly under the covers through the first month, to the point that you may not even need to trade for him; he could very well be bobbing in the free agent pool. However, now he comes off a bye week that hopefully allowed his offense to get its collective act together and gets to enjoy the second-most favorable passing schedule over the next four games with home dates against the Chiefs and Saints and road trips to Minnesota and Oakland. If you have a quarterback on the bye over the next month, Freeman’s your plug-and-play solution.

Marques Colston, WR, Saints
Colston comes off a monster Sunday night showing in which he was essentially playing Jimmy Graham’s position, working out of the slot. If Graham comes back after the bye odds are he takes back that job and kicks Colston outside—where he’s certainly been good, but not elite. You also want to factor in the two drops that were buried by the bigger numbers and the foot injury he’s been playing with all season. Maybe the bye week helps, or maybe Colston goes Hakeem Nicks on you: big game, gutty performance, then a couple weeks (or more) to recover. It’s definitely a sell-high opportunity.

PUT A RING ON THAT THING!

Donald Brown, RB, Colts
Brown hasn’t scored since Week 1, but he’s seen at least 16 carries each of the past three games; when you consider that the Colts are averaging just under 23 RB touches per game, that’s a significant number. Moreover, Vick Ballard has underwhelmed, to the point that he’s no threat to steal touches. Normally this wouldn’t mean much, happening as it is for the 28th-most productive fantasy backfield. But over the next month the Colts will face three of the more favorable run defenses, and for the season Indy sees seven defenses giving up 20 points or more to running backs; only the Raiders will see more favorable run matchups. As an added bonus, Brown’s bye is behind him. Get him as a throw-in or scrape him off the scrap heap and get decent RB2/flex numbers for much of the rest of the year.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns
Jordan Norwood, WR, Browns

With rookies at quarterback and running back, the Browns’ offense is definitely in reloading mode. The expectation was that Greg Little might provide a reliable downfield target, but he puts more balls on the ground than a clumsy juggler. Last week Gordon stepped up with two long touchdown catches—the first multiple-TD grab game for a Brown since Braylon Edwards in 2007. And Norwood topped the team in targets for a second straight week, in the process pulling off something Little could only dream of: nine catches on nine targets. With the Browns seeing some favorable matchups at the wide receiver position over the next month and Brandon Weeden showing serious signs of competence, Cleveland might just have found its building block receivers in-house—and you might have a couple of flex options with upside.

BEAT THE CLOSING-TIME RUSH

Sure, you can pick up your spot starters for this week’s byes. But if you’re playing the week-to-week game you’ll be up against it in Week 7 when six teams are on the bye.

So if you’re an owner of (take a deep breath): Philip Rivers, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan; Ryan Mathews, LeSean McCoy, Reggie Bush, Jamaal Charles, Willis McGahee, Michael Turner; DeMaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Dwayne Bowe, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Brian Hartline, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Malcom Floyd; and/or Antonio Gates, Brent Celek, Jacob Tamme… well, there’s no better time to go ugly early and beat the bye week rush.

Rob Housler, TE, Cardinals
There are some attractive stop-gap tight end options, but odds are Heath Miller is owned and we already told you about Zach Miller last week. For a one-week wonder you could do significantly worse that Housler, who has posted back-to-back 40-plus yard games and was targeted six times last week. Most importantly, while Gates, Celek and Tamme have the week off Housler will be facing the Vikings—among the top-five most fantasy-friendly defenses for a tight end to face. Scott Chandler faces the Titans, but if he’s not available you have to like Housler’s chances of filling the void for a week.

Donnie Avery, WR, Colts
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

On paper Indy’s Week 7 matchup with the Browns looks like a feeding frenzy for wideouts, as no team has surrendered more fantasy points to the position than Cleveland. Of course those numbers were rung up while Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden was suspended, and now he’s back. Of course, he’ll spend his afternoon getting up close and personal with Reggie Wayne—leaving the rest of the Browns’ secondary—the ones responsible for those fantasy-friendly numbers—to square off with Avery and Hilton. Both are seeing healthy targets in Wayne’s shadow, and both are viable contributors on a week where nine legitimate fantasy starters at their position are out of the mix.


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