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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 12
Paul Sandy
November 23, 2010
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SYMBOL LEGEND
Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Worth a Look Worth a Look
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Sleeper Sleeper

QUARTERBACKS

No Brainers: Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Ryan Fitzpatrick

Shaun Hill, Lions
Rock StarLast week’s plug-and-play recommendation came through with a respectable 289-yard, 2-TD effort against the Cowboys. Hill continues to post useful fantasy stats week after week. Look for more good fortune in Week 12 against the Patriots. New England has allowed the second most fantasy points to QBs in 2010. This includes multiple touchdown passes for opposing QBs in seven out of 10 games. Hill should be good for 275-300 yards and a pair of scores.

Availability: Owned in ~52% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Hill is worth a roster spot in any league or scoring system.

Jon Kitna, Cowboys
Rock StarKitna closed out Week 11 with another standout fantasy performance, posting four total touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush). He has amassed seven scores over the last two games and with the weapons Dallas has there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to produce. Whether you need a QB to start or serve as a backup for your playoff run, Kitna is an excellent choice. Dallas faces a tough Saints pass defense on Thanksgiving this week, but Kitna seems matchup-proof at this point.

Availability: Owned in ~61% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Kitna should be owned in all leagues.

Brett Favre, Vikings
1 Week Plug & PlayLet me preface by stating that Favre shouldn’t be trusted if your season is on the line. He’s not a guy to pin your playoff dreams on. However, if you’re in the role of spoiler, Favre is worth a flier. The Vikings fired head coach Brad Childress, which could light a fire under Favre. We’ve already seen how big of an impact a midseason coaching change can have. Maybe will see similar results in Minnesota. Favre will no doubt benefit from a favorable matchup against the Redskins. Washington has allowed the third-most fantasy points to QBs. Favre hung 446 yards and two TDs on the last weak pass defense he faced (Arizona in Week 9).

Availability: Owned in ~68% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider Favre as a feast-or-famine option in Week 12.

RUNNING BACKS

No Brainers: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Mike Tolbert, Fred Jackson, Tim Hightower and LeGarrette Blount

Mike Goodson, Panthers
Rock StarWith DeAngelo Williams on IR and Jonathan Stewart recovering from a concussion, the shifty Goodson has quickly become a relevant fantasy performer. He has tallied back-to-back 100-yard performances. If he’s still available in your league, put him at the top of your waiver wire list. A meeting this week against the Browns poses a challenge but so did the Ravens last week. Expect another heavy dose of Goodson as long as Stewart continues to rest.

Availability: Owned in ~55% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Goodson should be owned in all leagues.

Keiland Williams and James Davis, Redskins
Rock StarClinton Portis’ return from a groin tear didn’t last long. He aggrevated the injury early in Sunday’s win over the Titans and will likely miss the rest of the season. Keiland Williams will hold down the fort and figures to get the majority of the work until Ryan Torain returns from a hamstring injury. Consider James Davis as a sleeper. He could be activiated from the practice squad right away since Torain is a long shot to play. Williams faces a tough test this week against a stout Minnesota run defense. However, based on his talents as a pass catcher, he merits starting consideration.

Availability: Owned in ~66% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Williams ought to be owned in all leagues.

Chris Ivory, Saints
Rock StarIvory rushed the ball 23 times for 99 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks. He’s clearly the top option in the running game for New Orleans with Pierre Thomas out. Even though Reggie Bush will presumably make his return this week, Ivory is likely to continue to get 15 or more touches per game. Don’t hesitate to add him for RB depth. Ivory doesn’t have a great matchup this week versus the Cowboys but he could still be used if you’re in a pinch.

Availability: Owned in ~40% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Ivory is a smart pickup in all leagues.

Donald Brown, Colts
Worth a LookAfter missing extensive time with a hamstring injury, Brown is fully healthy. He carried the full load Sunday against the Patriots, chipping in over 100 total yards. With Joseph Addai likely to return from a shoulder injury in the next couple weeks, Brown’s upside is limited. However, he figures to get a decent amount of work and is no doubt worth a bench spot. It’s also worth noting that the Colts have favorable matchups in Weeks 15-16 against the Jaguars and Raiders.

Availability: Owned in ~65% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Brown merits a bench spot in all leagues.

Maurice Morris, Lions
Injury ReplacementWith Jahvid Best dealing with turf toe injuries and Kevin Smith on IR, third-string RB Maurice Morris seems destined to get the bulk of the touches for at least the next few games. If the RBs on your waiver wire have been picked over and you’re sifting through the scraps, Morris is certainly worth a look. Detroit faces some stiff competition in the coming weeks (NE, CHI, GB) but starting RBs are hard to come by.

Availability: Owned in ~5% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Morris is worth a look in all leagues.

Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
Worth a LookAlthough he’s clearly playing second fiddle to rookie LeGarrette Blount, Cadillac continues to chip in the occasional useful stat line. In fact, on Sunday, Williams scored in his second straight game. With difficult matchups on the near horizon, it will be difficult to squeeze much value out of Williams. However, when Week 14-15 roll around (DET and SEA), Williams could make an interesting flex option in deep leagues. Another thing to keep your eye on: Blount is suprisingly ineffective in short yardage and goal line situations, which could spur Williams’ value.

Availability: Owned in ~52% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider adding Williams for bench depth but don’t play him unless you’re desperate.

WIDE RECEIVERS

No Brainers: Steve Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston and Deion Branch

James Jones, Packers
Rock StarThe return of Donald Driver might have spooked some owners into passing on James Jones. But even with Driver back, Jones still managed to score in his second straight game. Regardless of whether he ends up being Green Bay’s second or third WR, he has value going forward. If Jones is available in your league, add him and take advantage of a favorable matchup this week against the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to WRs this year.

Availability: Owned in ~62% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Jones is a recommended roster add in all leagues.

Nate Burleson, Lions
Rock StarBurleson, who was a recommended plug-and-play option last week, racked up 97 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He has been a solid fantasy contributor for the last six games. It’s time to start thinking of Burleson a reliable No. 3 WR . . . not just a bench option. The Lions draw another favorable matchup this week in the Patriots. Look for Burleson to again benefit from single coverage as New England looks to take away Calvin Johnson. 

Availability: Owned in ~44% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Burleson has what it takes to be a fantasy starter in most leagues.

Mike Thomas, Jaguars
Rock StarThomas has scored in three straight games, which makes it all the more surprising that he’s available in roughly 50% of fantasy leagues. With Mike Sims-Walker hampered by a high ankle sprain, there’s no doubt that Thomas is the top target in Jacksonville right now. Case in point, David Garrard threw his way 10 times on Sunday. Thomas will be a fantasy factor for the remainder of the season. The only reason he doesn’t rank higher this week is because he has a tough schedule, starting this week against the Giants.

Availability: Owned in ~51% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Regardless of your league size, Thomas deserves consideration for a roster spot.

Derek Hagan, Giants
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayHakeem Nicks will miss the next three games with Compartment Syndrome. With Steve Smith (pectoral) already on the shelf, Derek Hagan is expected to slide into the starting spot opposite Mario Manningham. Hagan made an impact last week, catching a touchdown pass. A juicy matchup against the Jaguars makes Hagan an excellent “get” for fantasy owners. Jacksonville has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to wideouts this season.

Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Hagan should be a top pickup this week in all leagues and scoring systems.

Blair White, Colts
Injury ReplacementAustin Collie experienced concussion symptoms on Sunday and was sidelined for much of the afternoon. Blair White seized the opportunity. He caught two impressive touchdown passes that showcased his sticky hands. Look for Peyton Manning to put his trust in White—at least until Collie is ready to return to action. The Colts draw a difficult matchup this week against the Chargers, but if Collie is a scratch, White merits consideration as a No. 3 fantasy WR.

Availability: Owned in ~4% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Give White a look this week if you’re thin at WR, especially in PPR formats.

Robert Meachem, Saints
Rock StarThe Forecast touted Meachem last week as a sneaky plug-and-play opportunity. Fantasy owners who heeded the advice were rewarded with a two-touchdown performance. Trusting a Saints WR other than Marques Colston is admittedly risky, so understand what you’re getting in Meachem before putting in a waiver claim. This is a boom-or-bust WR who can make you look like a genius one week and a fool the next. That said, another favorable matchup this week (vs. the Cowboys) makes Meachem a worthwhile pickup.

Availability: Owned in ~49% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Meachem is worth adding for another spot start.

Nate Washington, Titans
Rock StarWashington has posted three straight quality fantasy performances with Kenny Britt out of the lineup. He has solidified his status as a viable No. 3 fantasy wideout. With a choice matchup against the Texans on tap for Week 12, he should be claimed in all leagues. The only potential hiccup in Washington’s status as a starter is Tennessee’s QB situation. Despite the QB question marks, Washington is worth acquiring. Every other QB that’s faced the Texans this season has fared well.

Availability: Owned in ~62% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: If Washington is still lurking out there, now is the time to grab him.

Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, Rams
Worth a LookwAmendola and Gibson made the list here last week with a favorable matchup against the Falcons. Both players delivered helpful numbers. Amendola was a PPR powerhouse, grabbing eight receptions. Gibson finished with 42 yards and a touchdown. The Rams may not have an elite offense but QB Sam Bradford gives them credibility. Consider adding Amendola or Gibson as situational starters. St. Louis faces a Denver defense that has been mediocre against opposing WRs, so it’s not too late to reap the benefits of Amendola or Gibson.

Availability: Owned in ~61% and 6% of leagues respectively.
Forecast guidance: Amendola is a solid addition to PPR rosters while Gibson is a better bet in traditional formats.

Ben Obomanu, Seahawks
Injury ReplacementIn deep leagues, take a look at Seahawks for WR help. Starter Mike Williams suffered an ankle injury that’s rumored to be serious. He will likely miss some time so Ben Obomanu suddenly becomes a potentially useful fantasy option. Obomanu has scored in two of the last three games. He turned in his best performance of the season in Week 11, racking up 87 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Seattle’s schedule isn’t particularly attractive. Nonetheless, if Obamanu becomes the top receiving option, he’ll carry some value.

Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Obomanu is an under the radar WR pickup with good upside.

TIGHT ENDS

No Brainers: Marcedes Lewis and Brandon Pettigrew

Joel Dreessen, Texans
Rock StarDreessen led all TEs in scoring in most fantasy leagues this week. He put up 106 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. His production against New York bodes well with the Titans on tap next. Tennessee has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to TEs this season. They’ve allowed 100+ yards to TEs in three straight games and TE touchdowns in two of the last three. If the TE position has been a source of frustration, Dreessen is a sensible pickup.

Availability: Owned in ~12% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Dreessen is worth grabbing and starting in TE mandatory leagues.

Jimmy Graham, Saints
Injury ReplacementJimmy Graham has stepped into the lineup with Jeremy Shockey (ribs) injured and performed well. In his last two games, Graham has posted 70 yards or a touchdown. At 6’6” and 250 lbs., Graham is a huge target for QB Drew Brees. Keep your eye on Shockey’s status for this week. If he sits again, Graham is an intriguing option given how the Saints like to throw the ball around.

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Graham is worth a look if Shockey remains out of the lineup.

Travis Beckum and Kevin Boss, Giants
Worth a LookHakeem Nicks’ lower leg injury will make the tight ends a more critical component of New York’s offense for the next few games. If you have roster space, consider acquiring Travis Beckum as a sleeper prospect. Beckum scored in Week 11 against the Eagles. The Forecast likes his chances of becoming a fantasy factor, especially in PPR leagues. Because Nicks, Steve Smith and Ramses Barden are all gone, the team needs someone to fill the slot receiver role. Beckum is a candidate for that position. If Tom Coughlin goes that route, Beckum could surprise. Meanwhile, Boss could see an increase in targets in the more traditional TE role.

Availability: Owned in ~0% and 27% of leagues respectively.
Forecast guidance: Tap the Giants TEs if you need help at the position.

KICKERS

No Brainers: Matt Bryant and David Akers

Billy Cundiff, Ravens
Rock StarCundiff was touted here previously as a kicker you could trust for more than a spot start here and there. The Ravens have scored 20 or more points in six straight games. Cundiff has connected on multiple field goals in four of his last five outings. If you’re tired of rotating kickers in and out of your lineup, perhaps Cundiff is the guy you can finally settle on.

Availability: Owned in ~58% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Cundiff deserves a roster spot in all leagues.

Phil Dawson, Browns
1 Week Plug & PlayDawson has quietly posted multiple field goal kicks in four straight games. Go with the hot leg this week and exploit Dawson’s favorable matchup against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed the third most fantasy points to kickers in 2010. Under the most common scoring systems, they’ve ceded seven or more points to kickers in every game this season. Dawson should hit that mark, as well.

Availability: Owned in ~9% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Dawson is a wise kicker pickup for Week 12.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

No Brainers: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants

Cleveland Browns
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Browns draw the long straw this week. They’ll play host to the Panthers. No matter who head coach John Fox throws out there at QB, Clevland should capitalize on that player’s inexperience. And don’t underestimate the Browns as a legitimately capable fantasy defense. Cleveland ranks in the top half of the league in most key defensive categories, including interceptions and sacks. Look for them to come up big in Week 12.

Availability: Owned in ~21% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Grab the Browns this week in time for their prime matchup with the Panthers.

Other Features
Under the Numbers
Commentary from the Edge
Tuesday Injury Report
Fantasy Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
a d v e r t i s e m e n t