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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Waiver Wire Warriors - Week 12
Dennis Leonard
November 24, 2005

Hello again and welcome back to Waiver Wire Warriors. Week 11 was pretty good for me. Two wins, including the week’s high score in my Huddle league, and I’m still the points leader in both leagues. However, like most teams, I’ve had my share of injury-related misfortune this year and I’m very much in need of some stop-gap measures. For example, about this time last week I was dissatisfied with the QB depth in my local (had Bulger and Dilfer). Fearing what I’d do in the event that I again lost Marc Bulger – which is exactly what happened – I went to work researching my options and ultimately swapped out Dilfer for Arizona’s Kurt Warner. That was *before* Warner’s barnburner against the Rams last week, so my timing was fortunate. Fast-forwarding to today, I have a sneaky suspicion a couple of you might be interested in seeing my (updated) homework on Warner, or some other looks at QB help in general.

Kurt Warner Under The Microscope

The combination of recent quarterback injuries, few productive options remaining on waivers, and big Week 11 stats have already stirred considerable interest in Kurt Warner. And why not? He’s been detailed in this column several times, so you, loyal readers, probably weren’t all that surprised that Warner has played progressively better in each of his last three games. Heck, for those of us tinkering with my Quarter Back On A Budget experiment, we were kinda counting on it.

  • Week 9 – Warner was about the 18th most productive quarterback playing against Seattle, whose defense has given up about the 13th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season;
  • Week 10 – Warner was about the 6th most productive fantasy quarter back playing against Detroit, who (to my surprise) has allowed about the 8th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs; and
  • Week 11 – about the 4th most productive QB versus the Rams, who have admittedly allowed about 4th most production to opposing QBs.

Clearly Warner went bananas last week because the Rams pass defense stinks. But note how Warner was still productive against an average Seattle pass defense and very productive against an above average Detroit pass defense. Were the last three weeks flukes? I don’t think so, at least not based on the following numbers:

  • A very nice 63.9% completion percentage, which brings efficiency. Of the other quarterbacks currently starting, only Favre (65.2%), Brees (66,6%), Peyton Manning (68.7%), Jaime Martin (68.9%), and Palmer (69.5%) have been more accurate;
  • Of the currently starting QBs, he’s throwing the most passes per game: an average of 38.8 and that spells opportunity for production;
  • Of the current starters, he’s throwing for the most yards per game: an average of 270.0, which has been Warner’s bread and butter for fantasy;
  • While Warner had four turnovers in Week 9, he’s only had one in the two weeks since then – let’s hope that’s a trend; and
  • While he had only one TD in Week 9, he’s had four in the two weeks since – again, note the favorable direction those numbers are moving in.

Those stats are fairly attractive for a QB who is still available in 49% of Fanball leagues. Now let’s be honest; part of the reason for Warner’s recent production is that Arizona doesn’t run the ball much (22.7 times per game – 3rd fewest in the NFL), they get into shoot outs (Arizona has had 268 points scored against this year – only Houston, San Francisco, and St. Louis have been scored on more), and, on average, the Cardinals’ passing schedule was pretty favorable over the last three weeks. Of course, we’ve been tracking – with bated anticipation – his recent progress in this column. Perhaps it’s time to revisit Mr. Warner’s schedule to see what’s in store for owners, old and new:

  • Week 12 – versus Jacksonville: the Jags have been very stingy, having given up the 4th fewest fantasy production to opposing QBs this season;
  • Week 13 – @ San Francisco: this is a great match up for an offense that doesn’t like to run, as my Niners have allowed the 2nd most production to opposing QBs;
  • Week 14 – versus Washington: allowed the 11th fewest points to QBs;
  • Week 15 – @ Houston: allowed the 5th most points to QBs despite the fact most teams opt to run on them like a treadmill; and
  • Week 16 – versus Philadelphia: 7th most and their secondary is pretty banged up.

Assuming Warner doesn’t get reinjured, or Arizona Head Coach Denny Green doesn’t make another erratic QB change, Warner looks very promising in Weeks 13, 15, and 16. And you could probably even get away with playing him against Washington in Week 14 if you had to, because looking just at Weeks 9 through 11 the Redskins have shockingly been about the 7th most productive defense against the pass. That tells me their pass defense is slipping.

However, Week 12 – next week – could be trouble. The Jaguars’ pass defense is probably best avoided, despite Steve McNair’s serviceable 200 yard, 2 TD performance against them last week. Consider the following:

  • The Jaguars are allowing the fewest passing yards per game – an average of just 159.9;
  • Has allowed only a middle of the road 12 passing TDs so far, about 1 per game;
  • Has stacked up 29 sacks – 6th most in the NFL; and
  • Snatched 15 interceptions – 3rd most in the NFL.

Therefore, for those with Warner on their roster pairing him with another quarterback with a complementary schedule in order to cover his toughest remaining match ups (and provide upside depth in the event of yet another QB loss) could be a viable strategy going forward. Let’s begin by tagging the following twelve pass defenses as having been the most generous to opposing QBs over both the season as a whole *and* over just the last six weeks:

  • New England
  • Arizona
  • Tennessee
  • Philadelphia
  • Houston
  • St. Louis
  • Minnesota
  • Kansas City
  • Green Bay
  • Denver
  • San Francisco
  • San Diego

I sifted through quarterbacks who I thought might be available, cheap to obtain, or current underperformers you might already be on your roster that faces these soft secondaries with some regularity going forward. These QBs represent decent complements to Kurt Warner; favorable match ups are in bold.

  Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
K. Warner JAX at SF WAS at HOU PHI
- and -          
J.P. Losman CAR at MIA NE DEN at CIN
D. Carr STL @ BAL @ TEN ARZ JAX
T. Green NE DEN @ DAL @ NYG SD
M. McMahon GB SEA NYG @ STL @ ARZ
K. Dorsey @ TEN ARZ @ SEA @ JAX @ STL
J. Martin @ HOU WAS @ MIN PHI SF
S. McNair SF at IND HOU SEA at MIA
M. Brunell SD @ STL @ ARZ DAL NYG

Heck, even if you don’t own Warner this menu serves as a nice overview of those QBs (excluding the top 12 producers) who have soft opponents in Week 12 and beyond. I’d like to mention a little something about each, except for David Carr. While I wish Carr the best of luck versus the Rams next week I simply cannot recommend him at this point, under any circumstance… unless you get points for the number of times your QB gets sacked.

J.P. Losman – BUF QB: Holcomb is out and Losman is in, for what appears to be the rest of the season. I liked Holcomb better for fantasy purposes, but Losman was marginally useful in Weeks 1, 10, and 11 versus Houston, Kansas City, and San Diego, respectively. All three of those teams are on our weak pass defense list, so it’s safe to say Losman should probably get the bench unless the match up is real good. While Losman is largely available (only owned in 9% of Fanball leagues), perhaps that’s for good reason:

  • Limp 51% completion percentage;
  • 8 turnovers relative to 4 TDs;
  • A very low 66.0 QB rating; and
  • Buffalo has allowed 28 sacks – 8th most in the NFL.

I can see adding Losman as emergency QB depth behind Warner, or another QB, purely because Losman is a starter with a decent schedule and some offensive weapons at his disposal. But I don’t think you can realistically expect him to crack top 15 fantasy QB territory most weeks; be happy if he sniffs top 20. Though he’s got nice upside to perform better than usual in Week 14 versus the Patriots.

Trent Green – KC QB: What a horrible year for Trent Green owners. Green isn’t on waivers, due mostly to name recognition and blind hope that he might still turn his season around. Last week was a good start, as Green was about the 6th most productive fantasy QB last week versus the comedy of errors that is the Texans’ defense. But not all of Greens’ stats are bad (throwing 33.4 passes per game – 6th most in the NFL, completing 62.6% of his passes – 11th most in the NFL, and averaging 237 passing yards per game – 8th most in the NFL). However, on the season as a whole Green is *maybe* in the top 20 fantasy QBs, somewhere around Aaron Brooks territory. So he’s fair game to get recommended in this column.

Ironically, Brooks was a top 6 fantasy QB last week against New England’s crippled excuse for a secondary. And Trent Green faces that same New England squad this week; therefore, he should have a good game in Week 12. It is also worth noting that the Chiefs’ remaining passing schedule is fairly complementary to the Cardinals, so Trent Green owners might want to consider adding Kurt Warner if he’s available, and assuming your other backup options lack appeal. Because relying on Trent Green as an every week option from here on out is still a very risky proposition.

Mike McMahon – PHI QB: Okay, McMahon has only played one full game. But he did put up Tom Brady-like fantasy production in that game, coming in around the 8th most productive QB versus a respectable Giants’ pass defense last week. McMahon had a lot of yardage in Week 11 (298) but didn’t complete very many passes (only 46.2%). Of course, two TDs and 31 additional rushing yards helped the medicine go down. While it’s hard to get real excited about McMahon’s long term prospects his schedule is complementary enough with Warner’s that you might be able to platoon the two for the rest of the season, assuming McMahon continues to progress. He did look somewhat rough around the edges last week, so hopefully he’ll be able to get some polish on his game. Fast.

But if you’re just looking for a one-week solution, the Eagles do play the Packers’ in Week 12, which should allow McMahon to tickle top 15 fantasy QB status for the second week in a row. Green Bay has allowed 16 passing TDs (9th most), collected a scant 7 INTs (only 8 teams have fewer), and permitted opposing QBs to complete 61.5% of their passes (11th highest in that regard). And while Green Bay has been pretty good at limiting passing yards (an average of only 187.4 passing yards per game) that is clearly a function of opponents electing to run on Green Bay instead – opponents are passing on Green Bay an average of only 28.6 times per game, which is the 5th fewest in the NFL. Thus, a team that chose to pass more on Green Bay would likely have good success. Not so ironically, the Eagles have thrown the 2nd most passes per game this year – an average of 41.5 times – but your guess is as good as mine whether Philly’s play calling remains pass-heavy with McMahon under center. However, seeing as McMahon tied Peyton Manning for the 3rd most passes attempted in Week 11 (39 throws) I’m guessing they will. But then again, I’m desperate for a Week 11 QB solution so maybe I’m seeing the glass as half full.

Ken Dorsey – SF QB: No, I’m not joking. To be sure, you’d have to be in a big league with few options to even consider picking up Dorsey; after all, he hasn’t even been named the Niners’ Week 12 starter. But Dorsey helped bring the painfully incompetent Niners’ offense to life last week against an underrated Seattle Seahawk defense… except when he choked on that final 2-point conversion play. But aside from that he did fine, completing 62.1% of his passes, earning 249 passing yards, 1 TD, and no interceptions. That was good enough to earn him roughly top 15 fantasy QB honors, somewhere in the neighborhood of Kerry Collins, but better than Hasselbeck, Plummer, Orton, Delhomme, Brunell, Brad Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, or Chris Simms. Sobering, isn’t it?

Assuming Dorsey gets the start this week he makes for a speculative long-shot against the vulnerable Tennessee Titans and is my “reach” QB pick of the week. The Titans:

  • Are allowing about 210 passing yards per game;
  • Have been scored on an NFL-high 21 times through the air;
  • Only picked off 6 passes – only five teams have fewer; and
  • Have permitted opposing QBs to complete 63.9% of their passes – only three pass defenses are allowing more.

This pick is obviously conditioned on Dorsey getting the start. However, I’ll consider it a hit if he ends up a top 20 QB next week. Though, I’m honestly not sure at this point whether I’d rather start Dorsey versus the Titans or Warner versus the Jags.

Jaime Martin – STL QB: Martin will likely be a very popular pick up, especially by teams who were relying on Marc Bulger. The Rams simply have one of the most favorable remaining schedules against the pass and Martin has completed 68.9% of the small number of passes he’s thrown this season. My big problem with him is the fact that he’s turned the ball over 7 times relative to his four TDs. And it doesn’t help that the Rams offensive line has allowed the NFL’s 4th most sacks to date – 32. There isn’t a whole lot more hard data on Martin himself, but clearly he’s surrounded by capable pass targets who should help him get the job done. But I find it difficult to believe he’ll mimic Bulger’s production. However, when rotated properly with Warner, he may not have to.

Steve McNair – TEN QB: He’s not a top 12 QB, so I’m including him again. Recommended several weeks ago as a good pairing with Warner, McNair has continued to float between average and good performances. However, he is throwing the 4th most passes per game (an average of 35.7), completing 62.6% of those passes (9th best of the current starters), and averaging about 227 passing yards per game (12th most), so the upside is there. Just be cautions of McNair’s reported hip strain. While Head Coach Jeff Fisher stated on Tuesday that he thinks McNair will play this week, just keep an ear out. If you hear McNair is going to sit, subbing in Billy Volek (the Titans’ back up QB) would be an equally good play against a 49ers defense that has allowed the second most production to opposing QBs this season.

Mark Brunell – WAS QB: I was a big Brunell fan early this season. I was pretty forgiving after his first stinky game but at this point it’s pretty clear the thrill is gone. The Redskins’ schedule still looks good though, so if Brunell is the best QB you’ve got access to, at least most of his opponents are soft against the pass. However, I’d play him versus the Chargers this week instead of Warner versus the Jags. So those who have been relying on Brunell as their every week guy would see added, productive options if they could rotate Brunell and Warner going forward. Alternatively, Warner’s owners probably wouldn’t have to pay too much to acquire the struggling Brunell in trade.

Okay, that’s enough on QBs for this week. I’d like to remind you that Kurt Warner’s best years are behind him; you are not witnessing a return to Super Bowl MVP form. However, Warner got a bum rap with the Giants last year, as he won games despite being put on a very short leash. Arizona affords him a wide array of receiving weapons and the keys to a pass-first offense. And he’s in a contract year, so he’s motivated to demonstrate the scope of his remaining worth as an NFL signal caller.

However, that isn’t to say Warner is a safe quarterback to rely on. He’s been injured once already this year and Josh McCown has had his share of success, when given the starting opportunity. Thus, the other QB that pairs well with Warner is McCown himself. It may sound a little funny at first, but look at it this way: if you’re in such desperate straights that you’re actually considering going with Warner from here on out, if ol’ Kurt were to become unavailable for whatever reason, McCown would probably be the most desirable free agent QB on waivers. So if you’re rolling with Warner, McCown is still on waivers, and you’ve got a roster spot to spare, I seriously recommend adding McCown as a precautionary measure.

Other Guys I’m Recommending This Week

Maurice Hicks – SF RB: 11 carries for 83 yards (over 7.5 yards per carry!), 1 TD, and no fumbles in Week 11 means Hicks is worth picking up until we figure out which direction the Niners will go in Week 12. I chronicled Hicks extensively last year as a guy who produced when given the opportunity, both on regular offense and special teams. Last week, after Barlow sat down with a concussion and Frank Gore was inactive due to an aggravated injury prior to the game, Hicks came out of no where to lead the charge in a final second near-tie against Seattle. Hicks pulled his weight and there is a chance the coaching staff gives him more time this week against a vulnerable Titans defense. The season is pretty much over for the Niners and the organization has already made public that they are going to reduce Barlow’s workload. With Hicks looking fast and effective, there’s really no reason to rush Gore or Barlow back in a meaningless game. No word yet on what the plan is, but a fantasy team desperate for running back depth might add Hicks based on his obvious upside. Partly because the Niners have recently demonstrated a commitment to the run even once a game becomes lost. Moreover, the Jaguars in Week 15 look like the only formidable run defense left on their schedule. However, it is worth noting that Hicks does not appear to be doing kick returns any more and he isn’t particularly active as a receiver out of the backfield, assuming either of those two facets affect your view of his potential value.

Chester Taylor – BAL RB: Finally. I’ve been saying for months that sooner or later Chester Taylor would get an increased roll and could provide a little nugget of value during the playoff stretch. While Jamal Lewis will still get some carries in relief, the Ravens will give Taylor the majority of carries. Taylor has looked good in limited action, which is great for those who’ve already added him. However, since he’s still available in about 49% of Fanball leagues he’s obviously still available to many of you. Here are some reasons you might be interested:

  • Averaging 4.5 YPC behind the same offensive line that Lewis managed only 2.9 YPC;
  • Taylor is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield who is tied (with Steve Heiden) for the NFL’s 12th highest reception ratio – 73.7%;
  • Taylor unexpectedly began returning kicks last week when the Ravens’ coaching staff felt their regular kick off return specialist – B.J. Sams – wasn’t getting the job done. No word yet on whether Taylor will continue to perform return work, but it’s worth keeping an eye on for those of you who get individual points in the return game; and
  • There isn’t a single dominant run-stopping defense left on his schedule.

Taylor could easily wind up a surprisingly productive #3 RB for his fantasy owners. I wouldn’t want to rely on him regularly until we see how the workload is divided in at least one more game. However, if one my regular running backs went down, Taylor would likely be a vastly superior option to anything I’d find on waivers at this point in the season… especially in leagues that award points for receptions, individual return efforts, or both.

Ernest Wilford – JAX WR: I really think his game against the Ravens was the exception, not the norm. Clearly Jimmy Smith is getting phased out and Wilford and Matt Jones are getting more game time. However, based on last week’s game, it looks like Wilford is first in line. And with the following measures of performance, that’s no surprise:

  • Over the last six games he’s been targeted 1, 2, 6, 7, 7, then 7 times. That’s a nice leveling of that trend;
  • During that same span he’s hauled in 1, 2, 6, 4, 1, and 5 receptions;
  • His respectable 65% reception ratio is much cleaner than either Smith’s (52%) of Jones’ (55%);
  • Wilford has seen consistent but modest action in the red zone: 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, and 2 looks in the last six games;
  • However, his red zone production has been spectacular, producing 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, and 1 receiving TDs over that span. In fact, he actually leads all Jaguars’ pass targets with 5 receiving TDs;
  • While his bottom line yardage isn’t that great due to limited involvement for about half the year, he’s nevertheless averaging a very high 16.3 yards per catch – 16th best for all NFL pass targets; and
  • He’s simply a master at moving the chains, as 88% of his receptions (22 of his 25) have been for first downs – the absolutely highest first down-to-reception ratio in the NFL right now.

Wilford may or may not be on waivers, but he’s a legit starting option in pretty much all leagues. And that’s partly because the Jags’ remaining passing schedule is one of the 6 or 7 easiest out there:

  • Week 12 – Arizona: has allowed the 4th most production to wide outs this year;
  • Week 13 – Cleveland: 20th most;
  • Week 14 – Indianapolis: 23rd most;
  • Week 15 – San Francisco: 2nd most; and
  • Week 16 – Houston: 9th most.

If you’ve got better options, fine. But since Wilford starting stepping up in Weeks 6 and 7 he’s easily been a top 24 wide out in most formats, so your other options would have to be very good indeed.

Amani Toomer – NYG WR: Toomer had a slow start to the season, but beginning in Week 7 he started seeing a lot more attention in the passing game. Since then:

  • He has been targeted 13, 6, 7, 12, and 8 times in Weeks 7 through 11, respectively. That may appear erratic, but during those last five weeks Toomer has actually been the fifth most targeted player in the NFL (running backs and tight ends included);
  • Tied with Hines Ward for the most passes in the red zone (10) over the last five weeks;
  • 25 receptions in those five games, leading all Giants’ pass targets and tied with Larry Fitzgerald for the 6th most receptions over the last five weeks;
  • Scored three of his four TDs on the season in the last five weeks – no Giant has scored more receiving TDs since Week 7 (though Shockey also has 3);
  • Somewhat modest yards – 260, which is the 18th most of any wide receiver in the last five weeks (though, some receivers only played four games during that span); and
  • His reception ratio has been pretty blah – around 57.14%.

Week 12’s opponent – the Seahawks – haven’t been special defending the pass this year:

  • Opponents, on average, have thrown 33.8 passes per game against Seattle – 11th most of any pass defense;
  • Allowed an average of 212.9 passing yards per game – 12th most; and
  • Allowed 12 receiving TDs so far, which is very middle of the pack.

Toomer looks like another solid play in Week 12 and, due to a mixed schedule going forward, he could be additionally useful down the stretch and is thus worth holding on to.

Jermaine Wiggins – MIN TE: Wiggins was my sleeper tight end pick in the Huddle’s pre season ‘Sleeper and Busts’ column. In leagues that award points for receptions he’s done a’ight. But since he has failed to score even one TD this year Wiggins hasn’t done much in leagues that do not award such points. Then Culpepper got hurt and Wiggins sort of dropped off the map for a few games. However, based on last Monday night’s performance, it appears that Vikings’ QB Brad Johnson has rediscovered ‘The Garbage Man (Wiggins’ team nick name). Here’s what we know about the guy:

  • 415 receiving yards this season – 10th most for all tight ends but leads all Vikings pass targets, even the receivers;
  • Despite 0 TDs, he’s been targeted 9 times in the red zone – tied with Heath Miller for 4th most for all NFL tight ends, but interesting leads all Vikings’ pass targets in red zone looks;
  • Targeted 65 times over all – 7th most for tight ends but (again) leads all Vikings’ pass targets;
  • 48 receptions on the season – 5th most for tight ends but (again) leads all Vikings pass targets; and
  • 73.8% reception ratio, so he has good hands, as he (gasp) leads all Vikings’ pass targets in that regard (at least those with 15 or more receptions).

Taken as a whole that’s great for the Vikings but just okay for us fantasy folk. However, what’s most telling about Wiggins is that since Week 9 he has been targeted 1, 6, then 9 times. He also got two passes in the end zone last week (as opposed to just the red zone). And over that same three game span he caught 13 of those 16 balls for a better than usual 81.25% reception ratio. That recent trend suggests Brad Johnson may have figured out what we already know: Wiggins is currently the single most dependable and productive member of the Vikings’ passing attack and he needs to be involved in every game. While his stats to date might not be spectacular, there is a very good chance that Wiggins could finish the season stronger than his season to date stats might suggest.

Guys I Thought About Recommending In More Detail But Opted Not To

Jeff Garcia – DET QB: I actually have some nice things to say about Garcia’s limited playing time thus far, assuming he ever gets healthy enough to start. All indications out of Detroit are that the job is Garcia’s as soon as he’s able, but now Coach Mooch is playing it coy by not naming names. Until Garcia gets the nod he is little more than a long-shot speculative QB with some and a so-so schedule going forward.

J.J. Arrington – ARI RB: I’m not wild about his Week 12 match up with Jacksonville. But he’s scored twice in two games, which means assuming he is still on waivers everyone has noticed the guy. Nevertheless, San Francisco (Week 13), Houston (Week 15), and a reeling Philadelphia (Week 16) means Arizona’s remaining opponents have allowed roughly the sixth most points to opposing running backs thus far. So if you were forced into playing him, at least Arrington’s match ups look productive.

Aaron Stecker – NO RB: No time for a detailed analysis this week, but if you get either points for receptions or individual points in the return game (or preferably both), Stecker is a guy that I’d consider adding as a #4 or #5 RB going forward. I’d hate to rely on him as a week-to-week option, especially during the playoffs, but he was real productive last week. Check him out, if you’re so inclined. But if he does anything in Week 12 you can count on me performing a (metaphorical) full body cavity check on the guy next week.

Tony Fisher – GB RB: I give up. Gado gets benched for Fisher mid-game last week due to fumbling and now Green Bay won’t say who is starting. Nice. It appears Mooch isn’t the only one taking a page from the Patriots’ ‘Big Book Of Infuriating Coaching.’ I’ve recommended Fisher in the past, but only because he was a starting tailback largely available on waivers. Add Fisher if you’re hurting for running back depth, but at this point in the week, it’s hard for me recommend starting a guy who: (a) isn’t necessarily starting; (b) has already gotten hurt this year; and (c) plays for a team that’s running back situation as been a carousel of disarray all season. That said, I do believe Fisher makes a good pick up for those with Sam Gado already on their roster just so you’ve got both in the event of a game time decision.

Brandon Lloyd – SF WR: Lloyd has always been an acrobatic receiver. But Lloyd’s fantasy production has never lived up to his potential, at least not on a consistent and sustained basis. Hey, I was at the Niners game last week and I saw with my own eyes how well he was playing. And this week’s match up against Tennessee looks fantastic. However, he hadn’t done anything of note since Week 4 versus the Cards. So I’d be real hesitant to start him this week, unless it was a dire emergency. He does make for a decent investment in WR bench depth until we can see if a repeat performance is in his repertoire, though.

Team Defenses: I’ve beaten this horse a bit much this season and there were no real changes in the ten or twelve teams we’ve typically targeting. You know who they are; you know what to do. I’ll resume more detailed analysis next week, as this week’s column has already gotten fat.

The Waiver Wire Report Card

Okay, we’re back in the saddle. Last week saw 9 hits, 5 misses, and 4 pushes. And that’s just fine by me.

Aaron Brooks – NO QB: I told you Brooks would come to play. With 343 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and another 30 yards on the ground Brooks was easily a top 3-5 QB in pretty much every scoring format last week. Hit.

Warner/McNair: Recommended the Warner part of this QB On A Budget. I trust 285 passing yards, 3 TDs, and only 1 turnover met with your approval. Hit.

Warner/Holcomb: Ditto. As much as I’d love to double dip here, that’d be cheap and lame. So I won’t.

Ricky Williams – MIA RB: 83 yards on just 13 carries for over 6.3 YPC. No turnovers. A score would have been nice, but Williams easily outplayed Ronnie Brown in an otherwise putrid game for the Dolphins. However, he proved my point: if you can get him cheap, he provides serviceable, productive depth at RB going into the fantasy playoffs because Miami (probably) isn’t going to get blanked in every game from now until Week 16. Modest hit.

Maurice Morris – SEA RB: I didn’t recommend playing him, though it is nice to see 8.5 YPC last week (17 yards on just 2 carries). Though I maintain he’s a prudent investment for Alexander owners. Push.

Michael Turner – SD RB: It won’t surprise me if others begin touting Turner after he took 8 carries for 48 yards (6.0 YPC) and a score last week. But if you read last week’s column his performance in Week 12 probably didn’t surprise you. We said Turner would be productive if he got the opportunity – just days before that happened – and we were proved right. Bonus hit.

Dominic Rhodes – IND RB: Just 6 yards on 3 carries, but he did score. More evidence that Rhodes is a “must handcuff” for Edge owners. We already figured that out, but he’s still worth adding if you haven’t yet. Push.

Adrian Peterson – CHI RB: Peterson, you ROCK! 37 yards on just 4 carries means Peterson averaged an obscene 9.25 YPC against a resurgent and much respected Panthers’ DEF. Those foolish Thomas Jones’ owners who haven’t made room for Peterson yet simply must. Again, just a push.

Greg Jones – JAX RB: Taylor was named the starter right before game time, but I called on Jones like the Power of Greyskull. Hopefully you saw the updated news and pulled Jones from your line up because even though he ended up getting 16 carries, he only managed 33 yards and a handful of receptions for a whole lot of nothin’. I say that not because I’m trying to weasel out of anything but because I sincerely hope you were able to go with a more productive option at the last minute. Miss.

Marion Barber III – DAL RB: Okay, it is what it is: running back by committee in Dallas. Yet, MB3 got 53 rushing yards and 2 TDs, so if you played him based on anything I’ve ever said about the guy I know you ain’t complain’. Hit.

J.J. Arrington – ARI RB: The little train that *finally* could: 11 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD, and 2 receptions for an additional 23 yards make this a tidy hit. I told you Arrington might be a decent find for those still scrounging the waiver wire for every-week RB help and I stand by that. Hit.

LeRon McCoy – ARI WR: I specifically conditioned this call on Boldin sitting, but he played. However, I still maintain that McCoy was a nice pick up for teams who usually rely on Boldin just in case things came down to a game time decision. Push.

Jaguars’ DEF and your choice of Rams or Seahawks: Tough call on this one. I actually did NOT recommend the Jags’ DEF (3 sacks, 1 turnover) in Week 11 and as it turned out, they had a quiet day. So I’d like a little credit for knowing when to sit the hot hand. However, the Rams (1 sack, 1 turnover) did worse and the Seahawks (5 sacks 1 fumble recovered) didn’t do a whole lot better. Though, the combo still looks great going forward. Miss.

Rams’ DEF and your choice of Packers, Lions, or Cardinals: Rams and Packers were my recommendation for this Combo DEF this week. Neither did much. Miss.

Panthers’ DEF and your choice of Titans, Ravens, Patriots, or Packers: Green Bay and New England both had favorable match ups on paper, but the Panthers were the real recommendation last week. They performed at an above average level, though below expectations; certainly better than the Pats. I wanted more, but all things considered the Panthers did okay. Small hit.

Denvers’ DEF: Hello Week 11’s top fantasy DEF! I actually benched Chicago for Denver’ in my Huddle league last week. I was a little nervous after the early games, but it turned out to be the better of two potentially great plays. “Hugh” hit.

Seahawks’ DEF: What’s that lump on the back of my 49ers? Oh… it’s a spine. Haven’t seen *that* in a while. Below average performance by Seattle against a weak team = Miss.

Olindo Mare – MIA PK: Well, the good news is that you won’t be penalized for any missed kicks. However, zero points from Miami means zero points for Mare. A miss for me. Total and utter humiliation for the ‘Phins.

Todd Peterson – ATL PK: Made all five kicks, including two field goals. Peterson was likely a top 10 kicker in your league last week. Hit.

Okay folks, that’s all I’ve got for this week; I’m spent. However, we’re coming up on Thanksgiving and I’d like to wish everyone a happy Turkey Day. I think we’ve all probably all got a lot to thankful for. Sure, there’s life, love, and our personal freedoms. But NFL football on a Thursday ranks pretty darn high up there, too. Good luck, eat well, and game on!