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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 13
Paul Sandy
November 30, 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 and Jay Cutler

Sam Bradford, Rams
Rock StarBradford tore through a reeling Broncos defense on Sunday, posting three touchdowns and 308 yards. The rookie draws another favorable matchup in the Cardinals this week. Arizona’s defense has allowed at least one passing score in every game this season. Bradford passed for 253 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against the Cardinals. He should improve on those numbers this time around.

Availability: Owned in ~62% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Bradford is worth adding and playing in any league this week.

Jon Kitna, Cowboys
Worth a LookKitna’s ownership is inching up toward 70% so this will hopefully be the last time the Forecast needs to mention him. Since he became the starter, Kitna has been serviceable or better. Last week was the first time he didn’t throw a touchdown but he still managed to put up 313 yards. He should get back in the endzone for a couple scores this week against the Colts. It’s worth noting that Tony Romo may still return this season. He’s worth a look in leagues with deep rosters.

Availability: Owned in ~68% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Kitna is a passable QB option on most weeks.

RUNNING BACKS

No Brainers: Mike Goodson, Fred Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Tolbert and Brandon Jacobs

Ricky Williams, Dolphins
Rock StarWilliams was dumped en masse over the last few weeks when Miami’s offense evaporated. But the team showed some pluck in Week 12 against the Raiders. Williams was a workhorse, carrying the ball 20 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Williams is a smart pickup for playoff contenders since the Dolphins close out the fantasy season with home games against the Lions and Bills.

Availability: Owned in ~69% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Williams should be owned in all leagues.

Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
Rock StarStewart, who had missed two games with a concussion, returned to the field Sunday against the Browns. He split time with free agent favorite Mike Goodson and led the team with 98 yards rushing. The timeshare figures to continue for the rest of the season as Carolina figures out what to do with its backfield in 2011. Both RBs are playable against Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to RBs this year.

Availability: Owned in ~70% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Stewart should be rostered in all leagues.

Chris Ivory, Saints
Rock StarStrange but true. Ivory is still available in 50% of fantasy leagues. The rookie scored twice on Thanksgiving against Dallas and now has three touchdowns in his last two outings. He’ll look to build on that momentum this week against a Bengals defense that has allowed 10 RB touchdowns in their last nine games. The return of Reggie Bush last week didn’t seem to have much of an impact on Ivory. And Pierre Thomas still looks a week or two away from returning.

Availability: Owned in ~50% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Ivory ought to be owned in all leagues.
  
Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Injury ReplacementAdrian Peterson left Sunday’s game against the Redskins with a sprained ankle. Early reports suggest he will play this week against the Bills but the Forecast isn’t ready to take those reports as gospel. Neither should you. Grab backup Toby Gerhart. Gerhart carried 22 times for 76 yards and a touchdown against Washington. Considering Buffalo has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to RBs this season, Gerhart is a must-add in all leagues this week.

Availability: Owned in ~13% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Gerhart should be added in all leagues.

Brian Westbrook, 49ers
Injury ReplacementFrank Gore suffered a hip injury on Monday night and is done for the season. After his big performance Monday night Brian Westbrook looks to get the bulk of the work going forward with Anthony Dixon providing a change of pace. Westbrook looked like his old self on MNF, proving he still has the quickness and instincts to make plays in this league. Monitor the news out of San Francisco today to determine Gore’s prognosis. Westbrook would be nice pickup if Gore rests. The 49ers play a stout Green Bay defense but if he gets 15-18 touches, Westbrook could deliver a solid stat line for you.

Availability: Owned in ~4% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Westbrook is a must-grab if it looks like Gore will miss time.

Maurice Morris, Lions
Rock StarMorris recorded two touchdowns and 75 all-purpose yards last Thursday against the Patriots. With Jahvid Best ailing with dual turf toe injuries, Morris is going to receive the bulk of the carries for the rest of the year. That’s the good news. The bad news is Detroit has a tough schedule coming up with divisional games against the Bears and Packers. He won’t catch a break until Week 15 when the Lions travel to Tampa. Still, if you need a RB to stash on your bench, Morris is worth grabbing.

Availability: Owned in ~20% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Morris is worth a look in all leagues and merits extra consideration in PPR formats.

Tashard Choice, Cowboys
Injury ReplacementDallas RB Marion Barber suffered a calf injury and will miss at least two games. While Felix Jones will get the bulk of the carries, Choice will no doubt see an increased role in the offense. Pick him up in advance of Dallas’ matchup against the Colts. Indianapolis has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to RBs in 2010. Choice did receive a goal line carry and scored last Thursday against the Saints. If Choice gets 12 or more touches, he should turn in a useful fantasy stat line.

Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Think of Choice as a serviceable RB3 or flex option this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

No Brainers: Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and Johnny Knox

Deion Branch, Patriots
Rock StarBranch is somehow available in 30% of fantasy leagues. If he’s lurking on the waiver wire in yours, he should be one of your top targets this week. Branch is coming off a 113-yard, 2-TD effort. His next three games are difficult (NYJ, CHI and GB) but Tom Brady will find a way to keep Branch relevant for fantasy purposes.

Availability: Owned in ~70% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Branch should be owned in all leagues.

Ben Obomanu, Seahawks
Rock StarObomanu made the list here last week but obviously should’ve been even more highly touted. He turned in a career best 159 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Chiefs. Obomanu has now scored in three of the last four weeks. Since Mike Williams is nicked up, Obomanu is the top target in Seattle. With a home matchup this week against the Panthers, he’s looking like a viable WR3. Acquire him with confidence.

Availability: Owned in ~4% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Obomanu is worthy of a roster spot in all leagues.

Jason Avant, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab Avant in time for Thursday’s cushy matchup against the Texans and you’ll be poised to jump out to an early lead in your fantasy game this week. Houston has allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs. Michael Vick figures to pick apart their defense in front of a primetime audience. Avant led all Philadelphia receivers in Week 12 with eight receptions for 83 yards. Vick threw his way nine times. Look for Avant to chip in 70+ yards and a touchdown.

Availability: Owned in ~8% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Avant is spot starter material this week against the Texans.

Blair White, Colts
1 Week Plug & PlayWhite has been an integral component of the Colts rag-tag receiving corps over the second half of the season. He’s notched three touchdowns in the last two games. With a promising matchup against the Cowboys on tap next, White is worth acquiring as a plug-and-play option. Dallas has allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs. Keep in mind, White’s value is tied to the health of Austin Collie (concussion) so keep your eye on Collie’s status.

Availability: Owned in ~39% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Start White if Collie sits; sit White if Collie starts.

Eddie Royal, Broncos
Rock StarRoyal was a frequent target in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. He ended the game with six receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown plus added a 20 yard run. Although he’s been maddeningly inconsistent this year, Royal is worth trusting in Week 13. The Broncos will face the Chiefs in a game that has shootout written all over it. Kansas City has allowed five WR touchdowns in their last three games. Royal should put up 5+ receptions this week.

Availability: Owned in ~47% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Royal is a strong pickup and play option, especially in PPR leagues.

Derrick Mason, Ravens
Rock StarMason has popped up here time and time again. He’s posted quality fantasy performances in four of his last six games, including an 8-catch performance that netted 87 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Bucs. He is out-producing Anquan Boldin right now and it isn’t even close. Mason faces the Steelers this week. On paper it looks like a poor matchup. But Mason has historically fared well against Pittsburgh. He’s caught six or more passes in six of his last seven games against the Steelers. If you choose not to trust him against Pitt, maybe you’ll like his Week 14 game against Houston better.

Availability: Owned in ~59% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Mason is worth starting this week or stashing for Week 14.

Davone Bess, Dolphins
Worth a LookBess tallied his first 100-yard effort of the season in Week 12 against the Raiders. His sudden spike in production can be attributed to a favorable matchup against the Raiders and the fact that Brandon Marshall was out with a hamstring injury. Marshall is likely to miss another game so Bess is worth a look against the Browns. Cleveland has a solid pass defense but Bess should be targeted heavily.

Availability: Owned in ~54% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider starting Bess as a WR3 or flex play in PPR leagues.

Danario Alexander, Rams
1 Week Plug & PlayAfter a four week layoff with a knee injury, Alexander stormed back on the fantasy scene, posting 95 yards against the Broncos. One of his catches came just short of the goal line. Alexander is the best big-play option in the St. Louis offense. Considering this week’s opponent, Arizona, has allowed the third most receptions to WRs over 20 yards, the Forecast thinks Alexander is a prime candidate for another strong performance.

Availability: Owned in ~2% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Alexander is a high upside play this week against the Cardinals.

Jacoby Ford, Raiders
Worth a LookFord has officially arrived. Two games after recording his first career 100-yard performance, Ford did it again. He amassed 108 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. Oh yeah, and he also returned a kick for a score. Ford is now a key cog in Oakland’s offense. He’s likely not ready for your lineup this week against the Chargers but he’ll merit a look in Weeks 14-15 against the Jaguars and Broncos.

Availability: Owned in ~13% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Ford is worth a look as a WR you can insert when the matchup is right.

Earl Bennett, Bears
1 Week Plug & PlayBennett posted two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Eagles. With the Bears offense suddenly starting to show promise, don’t be too quick to dismiss Bennett as a viable prospect. Chicago has favorable matchups the next two weeks with games against the Lions and Patriots. Bennett is worth acquiring for a spot start. That said, his long-term prospects aren’t that exciting.

Availability: Owned in ~2% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Bennett isn’t a sexy pickup but is worth a look for the next two games.

TIGHT ENDS

No Brainers: Todd Heap

Kevin Boss, Giants
Rock StarIt wasn’t pretty but Boss came through with 74 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars. Boss caught just three of the eight passes thrown his way, dropping some relatively easy catches. Nonetheless, Boss has now scored in three out of the last four games and his prospects are improved with Hakeem Nicks out of the lineup. Give him a start this week against the Redskins. In 2009, he posted 57 or more yards in both meetings against Washington. He’s a good bet to exceed that mark in Week 12.

Availability: Owned in ~44% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider Boss to be a decent starting TE for the next couple games.

Joel Dreessen, Texans
Rock StarDreessen has scored in back-to-back games and draws a favorable opponent this week in the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to TEs this season. They’ve allowed TE scores in three of their last four games. Dreessen, who is a favorite redzone target for QB Matt Schaub, should get plenty of looks in what will no doubt be a high scoring game.

Availability: Owned in ~43% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Dreessen is worth grabbing in all leagues that start a TE.

Brent Celek, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayCelek has played a minor role in the Eagles offense in recent weeks but he broke out of a four game scoring slump in Week 12, posting 50 yards and a touchdown. Trusting Celek based on the one performance is a risky proposition but a matchup against the Texans might be too good to pass up. Houston has allowed more fantasy points to TEs than any team this season.

Availability: Owned in ~50% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Celek is a feast-or-famine option in Week 12.

KICKERS

No Brainers: David Akers and Lawrence Tynes

Nate Kaeding, Chargers
Rock StarKaeding was the top kicker drafted in many leagues this season. After a midseason injury, he was cut in the majority of leagues. It’s too bad more fantasy owners didn’t get a chance to reap the benefits of his monster five field goal effort on Sunday night. At the rate San Diego is scoring, Kaeding should be owned and started in all leagues going forward. Consider him a must-grab kicker if there is such a thing.

Availability: Owned in ~35% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Kaeding should be owned in all leagues.

Josh Brown, Rams
1 Week Plug & PlayBrown is worth a spot start this week against the Cardinals. Arizona is among the most generous teams for opposing kickers. They’ve also allowed 27 or more points in four straight games. Brown has been solid, connecting on multiple field goal kicks in seven of his last night games. This time of year kickers who are playing in warm weather or domes are coveted. Brown’s next four games will be played inside.

Availability: Owned in ~22% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Brown is worth a spot start and has long-term starter potential.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

No Brainers: Chicago Bears and New York Jets

New Orleans Saints
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Forecast likes the Saints DST this week against a Bengals team that has allowed defensive or special teams touchdowns in three straight games. In their last four outings, Cincinnati has yielded 12 sacks and turned the ball over 13 times. Oh, and for good measure they also gave up a safety. Given 10 days to prep for the Bengals, New Orleans should be ready to rack up a bunch of fantasy points.

Availability: Owned in ~80% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: New Orleans is an excellent plug-and-play option.

San Diego Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayComing off a two touchdown effort against the Colts, San Diego’s defense is playing with tremendous confidence. If they’re available in your league, snag them in time for this week’s home meeting with the hated Raiders. Oakland has only allowed one DST touchdown this year but they give up plenty of fantasy points. In the last three games, they’ve ceded 11 sacks and nine turnovers. Look for the Bolts to chip in another solid fantasy effort.

Availability: Owned in ~62% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Chargers are worth acquiring in all leagues.

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