For a deeper review of players that are either new to the scene or playing differently than expected, Double Coverage will give the respective views of John Tuvey (Start Bench List) and David Dorey (Game Predictions and Player Projections). We'll bring 47 years of combined fantasy football experience to bear and hopefully a few things to think about as you manage your fantasy team.
WR Mohamed Sanu (CIN)
TUVEY: Sanu started carving out a spot in the Cincy receiver rotation just prior to their Week 8 bye; since the Bengals returned to action he’s outproduced every Cincy receiver not named A.J. Green combined with more catches (13 to 11) and yardage (127 to 101)… and more touchdowns than even Green himself (4 to 3). Finally Andy Dalton has a target to turn to with some degree of confidence when Green draws double- and triple coverage. There are some shutdown corners remaining on the Cincy schedule, but you have to believe Nnamdi Asomugha and Ike Taylor will be spending up-close time with Green; that makes Sanu a viable option, both down the stretch in 2012 and has a Houshmandzadeh to Green’s Chad Johnson going forward.
DOREY: I am liking this Sanu kid. The 3.20 pick of the Bengals this year was hoped to at least eventually replace Jerome Simpson. The ex-Rutgers star plays big at 6-2, 211 lbs. and you have to like that he scored four times over the last three games. He isn't doing much yet with yardage since he tops out at just 47 yards but you have to like a guy who is taking advantage of playing across from A.J. Green. Opposing defenses know well enough that they have to watch Green in the endzone and that's really worked out well for Sanu. A little reality - Sanu is still plenty raw and really needs a good training camp and offseason next year. But he has two great characteristics - he's the "other guy" on a team with an elite wideout and his quarterback is above average and confident throwing redzone passes to him.
RB LaMichael James (SF)
TUVEY: Like the 49ers, I’m a James fan, dating back to his Duck days at Oregon. However, I’m not convinced that the season-ending injury to Kendall Hunter provides the opportunity he needs. Frank Gore is still the go-to guy, and while James would provide a dynamite change of pace he hasn’t seen a lick of work with the 49ers varsity this year; in fact, he’s been inactive every single week. Let’s let him leapfrog Anthony Dixon and Brandon Jacobs to get some work with the big boys before looking to him for fantasy help. Now if you’re talking keeper league…
DOREY: The 49ers spent their 2.29 pick on the ex-Oregon speedster who ran a 4.4/40 at the combine. He comes in as one of those really dangerous players that no one really knows what to do with. Like Dexter McCluster. Like at least a couple of under-sized yet prolific backs that often seem to play in the PAC-12 every year. Now that Kendall Hunter is out, James is going to find his way back onto the active roster. He draws comparisons to Darren Sproles because he is only 5-8 and 194 lbs. and can only play a "wildcard" sort of change of pace role. The good news is that if he really can play up to his potential, he could add a really nice new aspect to the offense. The bad news is that little guys almost never matter - Dexter McCluster for example. He won't be used often enough to offer the consistency you want for a fantasy start. I'd love to see him add something special to the offense and he was a high draft pick. But thinking back there are not many guys like him that mattered. If he was going to be "gimmicky" they could have been using him this year anyway.
RB Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
TUVEY: Fantasy football players aren’t particularly fond of Sunday morning surprises, so when news broke that Moreno and not rookie Ronnie Hillman would be getting the start for the Broncos the community was spun into a tizzy. Moreno responded with his most productive game since Week 14 of 2010, his third game of 85 yards or better in the past three seasons—and all came against the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, Moreno has averaged 101 yards per game (at 5.8 yards a carry) in four meetings with the Chiefs over that span… and 32 yards a game at 3.6 yards a pop against everybody else. That’s great news if you have a Week 17 fantasy championship game, as the Broncos take on the Chiefs again, but other than that dates with the Bucs, Ravens, and Browns render Knowshon a fantasy no-go. He’s useable in Week 14 against the Raiders, unless Hillman develops a sudden grasp of pass protection that allows him to reclaim the starting job he never had.
DOREY: It's like the ghost of Shanahan is still in Denver. Let Knowshon Moreno rot on the inactive list all year while using Ronnie Hillman who was the 3.04 pick in the draft. Hillman is 5-9 and 200 so a little on the small side but not much. Didn't matter. Moreno was told to put his mop away and grab a helmet. He not only started, but he turned in 85 rush yards on 20 carries and caught four passes for 26 yards. Hallelujah! The next savior is born... not. I hated not seeing what Hillman could have done but they do want to protect Manning which is pretty prudent. Moreno ran for 85 yards on the Chiefs. The Bengals ran for 176 yards on them the previous week. Darren McFadden has his only decent game all year against the Chiefs. Not that hard to do really. You have to like anyone who is a starting running back because that is just fantasy law. We'll see how well he does against the Buccaneers this week. Then road games to Oakland and Baltimore. There was a really good reason why Moreno was so forgotten - he is just not that good. He is better than, say, anyone else currently on injured reserve. But I have pretty limited expectations of what Moreno will do other than ruin the chance that Hillman gets much of a shot this year.