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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Off Tackle: Week 12
John Tuvey
November 23, 2011
 

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and we’re a dozen weeks into the season; quite frankly, there isn’t much left to say about the fantasy football season. Doesn’t mean we can’t say it again.

Last week, on the heels of Quarterback Armageddon, I broke down the most likely pickup options. Judging from the comments section, at least a couple of you are set at the position and didn’t see the value in such an article. Here’s hoping those disgruntled souls played against someone who picked up Matt Moore, shined him up real nice, turned him sideways, and… well, rather than steal from pro wrestling, let’s just say they treated them like a Thanksgiving turkey. Sans the friction-reducing butter.

With Jay Cutler joining the ranks of the injured this week, feel free to revert back to that list for more waiver help. Of course, after a hat trick last week Moore may be a tougher get on the waiver wire.

In any event, a month ago in this very space I revisited the “Chop Shop” feature that had been missing from the Huddle’s 2011 lineup. That week I also followed up on my previous week’s tweet to pick up this oddly-named running back from Cleveland and noted that if and when I reached the 500 follower mark on this wacky new Twitter thing I’d hand out Huddle swag.

What a difference a month makes.

Chris Ogbonnaya—Silent G for all of us on board the bandwagon—rewarded those of you who paid attention, most recently with 115 rushing yards and his first NFL touchdown. And Tad Anderson will soon be receiving a Huddle messenger bag and a healthy supply of Huddle pens.

One month later it’s also time to go back to the Chop Shop theme, though I’m warming to the idea of remaking it using the Butcher Shop theme I test-drove back in Week 8. The playoff push is on, and it’s time to tighten up those rosters for one final run. So without further ado…

PAST THEIR EXPIRATION DATE

Players who you should look into trading for at current market rates, if your trade deadline has not yet passed.

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
Color me as puzzled as anyone as to Bradford’s lack of success this season; I had the marriage of Bradford and Josh McDaniel’s offense pegged as one of the big stories of this season. Now all you’re hoping for is that one TD toss to Brandon Lloyd, and with a finishing schedule that gets harder every week through a Week 16 trip to Pittsburgh there’s no fantasy start in his foreseeable future.

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
Loathe as I am to suggest kicking any running back with a pulse to the curb—you need check out my rosters in my 14- and 16-team leagues to see I’m hanging on to hopes and dreams at the position—Thomas is in a nasty four-way backfield split in New Orleans. Between now and Week 16 the Saints don’t have a single RB-friendly matchup on their slate; take out what is for most fantasy leagues a meaningless Week 17 skirmish with the Panthers and New Orleans has one of the worst running back schedules on the docket.

Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again here: the Bengals are not going to give feature-back carries to Scott. At most he’s injury insurance and a caddy for Cedric Benson. Moreover, Brian Leonard is taking over as the Bengals’ pass-catching back. What few carries Scott will get will come against mostly stout run defenses: Pittsburgh, Houston, and Baltimore over the final six games.

Arrelious Benn, WR, Buccaneers
For one brief moment Benn looked like the receiver the Bucs thought they had drafted, but you likely blinked and missed it. Now the Bucs go to Dezmon Briscoe when they want a spark, and they have Mike Williams trying to salvage his season and Preston Parker working out of the slot. There’s simply nothing left for Benn to do.

Pierre Garçon, WR, Colts
This could just as well have been Reggie Wayne, but out of respect for Wayne’s stellar career I opted for the other Indy receiver. Same boat: no quarterback, no offensive line, nothing except killing time waiting for Peyton Manning to return and/or Andrew Luck to take over.

Ben Watson, TE, Browns
What little passing game the Browns muster used to run through the tight end. It’s not like Greg Little or Josh Cribbs are doing anything particularly impressive, but there hasn’t been much left for Watson to split with Alex Smith and Evan Moore. The pickings will get even slimmer as the Browns close with three of their next five against top-8 defenses against the tight end position. Why waste a roster spot on a guy who’s getting a share of a small portion?

SPECIAL PURCHASES

Players who you should look into trading for at current market rates, if your trade deadline has not yet passed.

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
You may actually get a discount on Green as he’s currently damaged goods; worse, at least on the surface, are matchups with Cleveland’s shutdown corner Joe Haden in Week 12 and at Pittsburgh in Week 13. But for your playoff enjoyment Green gets the Texans in Cincy, a visit to St. Louis to toast the Rams’ depleted secondary, and a title-game home tilt with the Cardinals. Find a short-sighted Green owner and make a lowball offer; you may be surprised at what you can turn up.

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
Johnson is likely on Owner #2 in your league already, and after last week’s egg he/she’s ready to pull the trigger as well. While it’s true that at this juncture CJ is purely a matchup play, check out his upcoming string of matchups: Tampa Bay, at Buffalo, New Orleans, at Indianapolis. That gets you to Week 16 having faced the 25th, 29th, 30th, and 31st defenses against fantasy running backs. Sure, Johnson hits Jacksonville in Week 16 but can start working on your Plan B for that week right now. May we suggest Jonathan Stewart (vs. the Bucs)?

Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
Finley’s lost in the shuffle in Green Bay; he has just four catches in the last two games and has watched the likes of Tom Crabtree, John Kuhn, and B.J. Raji make Lambeau leaps while he stands idly by. Turn the Finley owner’s frustration into your opportunity, as the Packers face two of the league’s most TE-friendly defenses (Kansas City and Chicago) in Weeks 15 and 16. His price won’t get any lower, so act now!

ON SALE NOW

Players you should seek to trade away based on their current value, if your trade deadline has not yet passed.

Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Browns
Remember the scene in Apollo 13 where they jettison the LEM they’d been surviving in and as they watch it drift out into space one of the astronauts says “She sure was a good ship?” That’s how I feel about unloading Silent G. I picked him up in multiple leagues a month and a half ago based solely on a strong preseason showing and the fact that Montario Hardesty couldn’t catch a cold. He turned in a couple serviceable (double-digit points) PPR games for me, and then Hardesty joined Peyton Hillis on the sidelines—leaving Ogbonnaya, by default, as the Browns’ feature back. He fumbled his first carry, and the game against Houston wasn’t particularly pretty, but he rebounded with 109 yards from scrimmage in Week 10 and a healthy 134 and his first TD last week. Alas, one glance at the Browns’ upcoming schedule—at Cincy, Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, at Arizona, at Baltimore, at Pittsburgh—and even the original Ogbonnaya booster realizes it’s time to cut the LEM loose. Sell the Arizona matchup, sell the fact that Peyton Hillis still isn’t ready and Montario Hardesty is questionable at best, and get what you can now. He sure was a good pick-up.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
Jackson has been running like a beast of late; he sure would come in handy on Black Friday as you’re efforting to get that $99 42” flat screen to the checkout lane. Fighting the hordes of shoppers would be cake for Jackson after checking out a remaining schedule only slightly less horrific than Ogbonnaya’s: Arizona, at San Francisco, at Seattle, Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. You’ll feel like you have to start Jackson, and you’ll likely get a steady dose of 70-yard, zero-TD games at crunch time. Peddle the Arizona layup this week and get something a whole lot more playoff friendly.

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
You’ve waited not-so-patiently for Johnson to return from his hamstring injury; why trade him now? For starters, do you really trust Matt Leinart to get him the ball as regularly as Matt Schaub did? That’s one big question mark. So’s his hamstring, which should be healed… but we thought the same about Miles Austin and Peyton Hillis and how did that work out? Mix in a rather unfriendly finishing schedule—at Jacksonville, Atlanta, at Cincinnati, Carolina, at Indy (okay, that’s a Week 16 layup), and Tennessee—and that’s way too many moving parts for my comfort level. Don’t give Johnson away; after all, you did wait patiently. But if someone wants to pay pre-injury AJ prices then sell, Mortimer, sell!

THE STORAGE FREEZER

Players whom you should "chill" on for the time being.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
It wouldn’t be that difficult to bail on Fitzpatrick, who has come crashing back to Earth after signing that big-money contract, to the point that the Buffalo media has been playing up the fact that the Bills can get out of much of the cash owed Fitzgerald by cutting him after the 2011 season. Don’t be so hasty; though an immediate pick-me-up is unlikely given this week’s trip to Revis Island, but the Bills close with Denver and New England in Weeks 15 and 16; those teams rank 29th and 31st in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
If you’re like me you’d already given up on Blount so he was firmly picking splinters on your fantasy bench when he busted that 57-yard touchdown run against the Packers. Where has that been all season? Dunno, but with two dates remaining against the hapless Carolina run defense—including championship week—I’m willing to wager there’s more to come. He’s borderline useable against the Titans this week as well, and then the Carolina fun begins.

TWEET MARKET

As noted earlier, Tad Anderson was the big winner of the “2V Hits 500” giveaway. I’m almost at 600 followers, but with the season ramping down the big 1,000 giveaway may have to wait until next season. Good thing, too; it’ll allow me to stock up on Huddle swag. You can find all the Huddle staff Twitter handles on the home page (mine is @jtuvey); if you were following me last week you received a bonus Take a Chance on Me recommendation of Johnny Knox that panned out quite well. As the injuries continue to pile up and the stakes get larger, those sneaky plays become more and more useful. So join the fun; if nothing else, follow JUMbotron for the cheerleader photos.

 

 

 
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