FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Pick-up Joint: Week 11
John Tuvey
November 13, 2012
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Trade Target Video - Featuring John Tuvey
Top Adds For Week 10
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders 57%
Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers 39%
TY Hilton, WR, Colts 29%
Chris Ivory, RB, Saints 24%
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers 23%
Total Week 10 Touchdowns: 1  
Top Drops For Week 10
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Mason Crosby, K, Packers 16%
Arizona Cardinals DST 15%
Washington Redskins DST 15%
Minnesota Vikings DST 15%
San Diego Chargers DST 14%
Total Week 10 Touchdowns: 0  

Your fantasy trade deadline is fast approaching, if it hasn’t already passed. Many leagues cut off trades in Week 11; some stretch the fun right up until kickoff of the first game on Turkey Day. Hey, nothing wrong with working the phones while the drumsticks and yams are cooling on the table.

So you may have time to pull off a few final deals to streamline your team for the playoff push. With that in mind, here are some players whose outlook over the next couple of months is bright—as well as a few you may wish to divest yourself of post-haste.

WORTH THE EXTRA DRINK OR TWO

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
No quarterback has a more fantasy-friendly slate the rest of the way than Newton, so he’s got that going for him… which is nice. More specifically, Cam has three division games remaining, one with each of the other clubs in the NFC South. And seeing as his two biggest fantasy games this year have come against the Falcons and Saints, and he posted his biggest fantasy game last year against the Bucs, familiarity is a good thing.

In nine career games against NFC South foes Newton is averaging right around 50 rushing yards and a rushing score. Add that to even adequate passing numbers and he’s fantasy gold. As for the other four teams left on Carolina’s slate—Philly, KC, San Diego and Oakland—they haven’t seen a running quarterback yet this season, so they’ll never know what hit ‘em.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
Still not a big Greene fan, as you can count the number of big fantasy games he’s had on one hand. But his season reminds me of a similar year put together by Ron Dayne. You remember Dayne, who flashed briefly as a rookie with the Giants and then fizzled through the remainder of a forgettable seven-year NFL career. But for one shining moment in 2006, Dayne was pure fantasy gold. He rolled the Titans for 87 yards and two TDs in Week 13, posted 94 and 1 on the Patriots in Week 14, and blasted the Colts for 153 and 2 in Week 15. Sure, he sat out the Texans’ Week 16 win over Cleveland with a sprained ankle—but if you were paying attention you grabbed Chris Taylor and rode his 99 yards and a touchdown to a fantasy title.

Here’s the point: even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then, and if said nut is buried in a soft playoff schedule that squirrel might just be your fantasy savior. Check out Greene’s slate down the stretch: no stoppers left on the board, and favorable matchups with bottom-feeding run defenses in Weeks 14 (Jacksonville), 15 (Tennessee), and 17 (Buffalo).

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
Charles is even more of a fantasy frustration than Greene. With Greene, your expectations are low and every now and then he surprises you; Charles has flashed enough ability that you expect him to contribute, so when he goes a month without a touchdown or totals 83 yards in three games he likely does it in your lineup and brings your fantasy team down with him. So when he goes for 100 and a touch in Pittsburgh, and does it on your bench… frustrating.

But here’s the good news: Charles’ finishing slate is so fantasy friendly even Romeo Crennel can’t screw it up. Okay, he can, but it would take some colossal bungling even for him. While the Chiefs’ next two games, against Cincinnati and Denver, are ice, it’s the critical stretch kicking off in Week 13 with the Panthers that has Charles owners licking their lips. For the fantasy playoffs, Weeks 14 through 16, KC will face the Browns, Raiders, and Colts; it doesn’t get much easier than that.

However, since this is Romeo Crennel we’re talking about, wouldn’t hurt to stash Peyton Hillis just in case.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
Chaos reigns in Philly, where rookie Nick Foles will get the start Sunday in place of the injured Michael Vick. That’s not necessarily bad news for Jackson, as Foles directed plenty of attention at Jackson and Jeremy Maclin when thrown to the wolves last week. And with Maclin injured, Jackson becomes the de facto go-to guy.

Week 11 marks the first of two meetings with the Redskins, who are one of the easiest marks for fantasy wideouts. Jackson will also see the Buccaneers and Giants during the fantasy playoff portion of the schedule, with both teams ranking among the more favorable fantasy matchups for wide receivers as well. All good reasons to expect the already well-targeted Jackson—he’s seen seven or more balls in every game this season—to elevate his game and his fantasy productivity.

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
The Andre owner in your league has to be frustrated. Johnson hasn’t scored since Week 3 and has one 100-yard game since the season opener. Those numbers make him the 40th overall fantasy wideout—not even a WR3 in a 12-team league.

So with the shine off, time to go get him in anticipation of what could transpire down the stretch. From here on out Johnson has one of the more favorable fantasy schedules a wideout will face: no stoppers, two dates against the Colts, and single meetings with the Jaguars, Lions, Titans, Patriots, and Vikings. Andre has a nice track record against those divisional foes, averaging 80 yards per game over the past five seasons with a dozen touchdowns in 22 divisional games. He’s too talented to be kept down for too long, and since he’s the entirety of the Houston passing game he’ll have plenty of opportunities against the Texans’ soft remaining schedule.

YOU'VE HAD YOUR FUN

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
The Bengals have a fantasy friendly stretch of three games against softish AFC West defenses, but just as you’re starting to bank on Dalton for the fantasy playoff push things turn dramatically south. Actually, first they turn east—as in the Cowboys and Eagles; then they turn north, with matchups against division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

In six career meetings with the Steelers and Ravens Dalton has one multiple touchdown game, one 300-yard game, and has been shut out twice; his average performance against the AFC North elite is 204 yards and a score. Those are numbers you can’t afford with your season on the line, A.J. Green or no.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears
Forte has faced four defenses that rank among the top 10 most fantasy friendly against running backs; not surprisingly, those have also been his four most productive fantasy games. Forte’s other four games have come against defenses ranked 15th or tougher against running backs; in those four games he’s averaged 66 yards from scrimmage and failed to score.

From here on out Forte’s easiest matchup is the Vikings, ranked 16th; he’ll get them twice, both in the next month. The Bears’ other five remaining foes all rank in the top 10 in fewest fantasy points surrendered to running backs. You could sell a trading partner on the fact that if Jay Cutler misses time the Bears will need to rely on Forte’s offense, but if you’re one of those opposing defenses are you really going to respect the passing game of Jason Campbell or, worse, Josh McCown? Divest yourself of Forte while you can.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers
After pegging Floyd as one of my early sleepers way back in June, and seeing him live up to those expectations as a solid WR3/flex play thus far, it’s tough to abandon him. The good news is, after a month-long drought he’s scored in back-to-back games so you should be able to sell relatively high.

The bad news for Floyd is that there isn’t a single favorable matchup on his slate the rest of the way. The most permissive secondary he’ll face before Week 17 is the Ravens, and they’re hardly a walk in the park. Moreover, for now at least Danario Alexander is healthy and both Norv Turner and Philip Rivers seem enamored with their new toy as he ran more routes than any other Chargers receiver last week.

If you’re able to turn Floyd into running back help or another WR3/flex type with a more favorable closing stretch—Michael Crabtree, perhaps, or Brian Hartline—the guy who turned you on to Floyd five months ago gives you his blessing.

 


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