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Waiver Wire Warriors - Week 14
Dennis Leonard
December 7, 2005

Hello again and welcome back to Waiver Wire Warriors. Notched another win in my Huddle league and I’ve taken the prize for most points during the regular season. A tough loss in my local to a team that simply went bananas, but I scored a ton myself and took back the lead in the overall points race by about a half game’s worth of production. Barring a major let down in Week 14 I’ll secure the “most points” prize that league, too.

If you’re still reading this column you either made it into the post-season or are battling through the last week of your regular season. Either way, chances are slim that you’ll find new and dynamic ways to enhance your offensive prowess at this late stage. However, a point is a point. And just between you and me, it’s okay to admit that you’re willing to put some in-depth thought into your kicker in an attempt to squeeze a tiny extra bit of potential production out of your squad. On that note, I bring you:

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Post-Season Kickers* (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Kickers are damn near impossible to predict. Weather conditions, the stadium, effectiveness of the team’s offense, effectiveness of the opponent’s red zone defense, the kicker’s accuracy, leg strength, and (obviously) the score of the game all contribute to a miasma of factors that generally dissuade most of us from making anything more than superficial effort. But with the post season upon us, I figured I’d give it a shot so that you don’t have to.

As usual, the first thing I did was construct a kicker strength of schedule for these last few weeks. Kickers don’t really have a strength of schedule, per se, but we can measure how opportunistic their remaining defenses have been to opposing kickers in terms of field goal attempts and extra point kicks. If we overlap a basic NFL scoring system over those numbers (1 point per extra point and 3 points per field goal attempt) we can see how many raw points each defense would have allowed to kickers, assuming every kick was good. (We’ll deal with kicker accuracy later. For now let’s just try to identify and rank defenses based on the kicking opportunities they give up. Production is impossible to predict; opportunity is not). I’m not even going to try to weave a “length of field goal attempted” element into this analysis, because forecasting something like that would require more advanced chaos theory math skills than I possess (which is to say, none).

Okay, after punching some numbers into a spreadsheet I now know which defenses have presented the most raw fantasy football scoring opportunities to opposing kickers. Looks something like this, listed in descending order:

Team Extra Points Field Goals Attempted Raw Fantasy Potential
New Orleans 32 30 122
St. Louis 40 27 121
Seattle 15 34 117
San Francisco 33 27 114
Houston 38 23 107
Green Bay 21 28 105
New York (A) 27 26 105
New England 28 25 103
Pittsburgh 21 27 102
Minnesota 28 24 100
Oakland 28 24 100
New York (N) 23 25 98
Tampa Bay 17 27 98
Cleveland 22 25 97
Tennessee 36 20 96
Baltimore 24 23 93
Washington 23 23 92
Arizona 34 19 91
Kansas City 25 22 91
San Diego 25 22 91
Buffalo 29 19 86
Detroit 26 20 86
Atlanta 27 19 84
Philadelphia 36 16 84
Dallas 22 20 82
Miami 23 19 80
Carolina 16 21 79
Chicago 10 23 79
Cincinnati 25 18 79
Indianapolis 16 19 73
Jacksonville 24 16 72
Denver 26 15 71

I know, those numbers don’t mean a whole bunch on their own. At the very least you can see that, all things being equal, you’d rather have your kicker facing New Orleans or St. Louis, rather than Jacksonville or Denver. Ah, but if we overlay the results of the Raw Fantasy Points over what’s left of a basic NFL schedule…

Lucky for you I’m a sucker for visual aids.

The following teams, listed in descending order, are the ones I believe have the most kicker-friendly schedule over the next three weeks based on the combined total raw fantasy points (from the chart above) allowed for each of the remaining three opponents for every NFL team. (I apologize that each week’s opponent is represented merely by a number, rather than a team acronym, but letters in the cells messed with the math formulas I was using to tally things up). FYI, the numbers in bold represent games that will be played in a dome, which is good to know now that we’re in the wintry portion of the football season.

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Total
MIN 121 102 93 316
PHI 98 121 91 310
SF 117 72 121 310
DET 105 79 122 306
TEN 107 117 80 304
CAR 98 122 82 302
ATL 122 79 98 299
STL 100 84 114 298
JAX 73 114 107 294
MIA 91 105 96 292
CHI 102 84 105 291
NE 86 98 105 289
ARI 92 107 84 283
NYJ 100 80 103 283
SEA 114 96 73 283
CLE 79 100 102 281
IND 72 91 117 280
DEN 93 86 100 279
BAL 71 105 100 276
PIT 79 100 97 276
OAK 105 97 71 273
KC 82 98 91 271
WAS 91 82 98 271
CIN 97 86 86 269
NYG 84 91 92 267
TB 79 103 84 266
DAL 91 92 79 262
HOU 96 91 72 259
GB 86 93 79 258
BUF 103 71 79 253
NO 84 79 86 249
SD 80 73 91 244

Okay, enough numbers. Based on the data we’ve compiled, the following largely available “non-stud” kickers are worth a serious look. Keep in mind, you can use this tool to measure your current kickers post-season worth, use it to help pick up another kicker to use for the remainder of the season, or just use it to scan for the optimal free agent kickers on a week-to-week basis.

Paul Edinger – MIN PK: In addition to having an extremely kicker-friendly schedule going forward, two of Edinger’s next games are at home, in a dome, which means he won’t be combating adverse weather conditions. He is 22 for 22 on extra points, but only 17 of 25 on field goals. That means he’s only completing about 68% of his field goals, which is very low. However, what Edinger lacks in accuracy he makes up for in volume of opportunities, as only three kickers have attempted more field goals than Edinger’s 25. Given the resurgent Vikings’ offense, Edinger makes for a good permanent replacement if your regular kicker is coming up small.

Rob Bironas – TEN PK: Bironas and the Titans also face a kicker-friendly post-season schedule. And while there on no domes in Bironas’ future, two home games in Tennessee followed by a trip to Miami in Week 16 mean that he will avoid the more hostile environments for kickers during your fantasy playoffs; a factor most folks usually fail to adequately plan for. And Bironas has actually had a decent little season thus far, as he’s connected on 19 of his 24 field goal attempts. Only 7 other kickers have made more field goals; only 8 have attempted more. I also like the fact that he has connected on a fairly high 79% of his field goal opportunities. Bironas has made 24 of his 25 extra points, which is fairly middle of the road in that regard. However, at the very least, Week 14’s match with the Texans should make Bironas a solid one week play even if you aren’t looking for a permanent replacement.

Todd Peterson – ATL PK: Peterson doesn’t get a lot of hype, even by kicker standards, mostly because he isn’t called upon all that often. He’s only attempted 19 field goals, which is very low. However, he’s converted on 18 of them for a spectacular 95% ratio in that regard. Those 18 field goals are also the same as some more recognizable names, like Janikowski, Kasay, and Wilkins, and more than Vinatieri, Kaeding, Vanderjagt, or Josh Brown. Peterson is also perfect on extra points, going 28 for 28. In other words, he’s made 46 of the 47 kicks he’s been asked to make this year, which makes him the most accurate active kicker in the NFL right now (though Rackers was slightly better until he got hurt). Given upcoming games against the Saints, Bears, and Buccaneers, he could be called on more than usual. The Saints and Bucs are fruitful opponents. However, the Bears in Week 15 concern me a little. Not only is the Bears’ defense one tough nut to crack, the game will be played in Chicago, which has already seen more than its fair share of nasty weather this year. (Remember the 40-mile an hour winds a couple weeks ago versus the 49ers?)

Josh Scobee – JAX PK: I’m not in love with Scobee because he’s playing the Colts in Week 14, which is one of the least kicker-friendly defenses to go against. However, he’s completed a respectable 78% of his field goal attempts (18 of 23) and all 27 of his extra points. However, I like him a lot in Weeks 16 (at home versus the Niners) and 17 (versus the Texans in their retractable dome). Thus, Scobee might make a good fit for teams normally relying on guys like Rian Lindell, who after Week 14, are going to see a much less favorable kicker schedule.

Nick Novak – ARI PK: I think it is widely recognized that – in addition to being a very good kicker – a big part of Neil Rackers’ success this year had to do with the Cardinals’ inability to get into their opponents end zone (36 field goals attempted this season, well beyond all other teams). That hasn’t changed. And Novak went 3 for 3 in Week 13, giving no indication that he is unreliable. While Novak’s schedule is less than superb, it isn’t very difficult, either. With two home games (against Washington in Week 14 and Philly in 16 – both of whom have seen recent struggles) and a trip to Houston’s dome in Week 15 on the schedule, you could do a lot worse than taking an upside gamble on Novak going into the post season if your regular kicker isn’t getting the job done, or has a rough looking schedule ahead. However, keep an eye on Rackers, as he is back at practice and could, in theory, take his job back sooner than previously anticipated.

Okay, I’ll quit with the kickers. But at the very least you owe it to yourself to take a gander a your regular guy’s remaining schedule and either make a permanent substitution, or acquire the most favorable one-week filler available in the event that nasty weather conditions or a kicker-hostile opponent could hinder your team’s maximum fantasy production during your post season.

More Recommendations, Hot Off The Presses!

Steve McNair – TEN QB: Believe it or not, despite all the injuries, benchings, and disappointments at the QB position McNair *still* isn’t a top 12 quarter back for fantasy purposes. He’s pretty low hanging fruit this week, because assuming his customary dings and dents don’t keep him out (and they rarely do) you’d have to have spectacular QB options not to play McNair against the Texans this week, who have:

  • Allowed the 4th most fantasy production to QBs this year;
  • Allowed opposing QBs to complete 66.6% of their passes – the highest such percentage in the NFL;
  • Allowed 20 passing TDs – tied for 5th most;
  • Permitted an average of 219.4 passing yards per game – 8th most;
  • Only 4 INTs so far – 2nd fewest.

The Titans are coming off a demoralizing loss to the Colts, so you know they’re going to come into Week 14 looking to kick ass and take back some pride. And even though the Titans just lost rookie WR Roydell Williams and (most likely) TE Erron Kinney for the year, McNair still can’t miss against the Texans. These are the same Texans that allowed Kyle Boller to produce solid fantasy stats in Week 13. The same Texans that Ryan Fitzpatrick abused in Week 12 to become that week’s 2nd most productive fantasy QB. The same Texans that Steve McNair had his best game of the season against back in Week 5. Remember those 220 passing yards and 3 total TDs he put on Houston nine weeks ago? Yeah, he was a top 6 QB against the Texans last time they met.

Kevin Faulk – NE RB: Tuesday’s Free Agent Forecast made some nice points on Faulk, and I don’t have too much to add. The only thing that’s really worth noting is that last week the Dolphins successfully platooned Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown against the Bills and both turned out to be good plays for fantasy purposes. So Faulk and Dillon could follow suit this week, as the Bills’ run defense continues to get worse and worse:

  • Allowing 4.7 YPC – tied for 1st highest in the NFL;
  • Allowing 140.2 rushing yards per game – 2nd most in the NFL;
  • 16 rushing TDs allowed – 2nd most;
  • And yet opponents are “only” running an average of 30.1 run plays per game on them – 10th highest in the NFL; and
  • Pass-catching running backs like Faulk seem to get a lot of action against Buffalo – an average of 5.1 receptions per game. Only four teams are allowing more receptions per game to RBs.

Obviously those who own Corey Dillon (currently listed as questionable) might be interested in adding Faulk as a little injury insurance. And clearly Faulk is more valuable in leagues that award points for receptions. Interestingly, Faulk used to return kick offs but he wasn’t doing that in Week 13, if you care.

Aaron Stecker/Antowain Smith – NO RBs: Last week I went into (painful) detail about how Stecker would be a good play in leagues that award points for receptions and/or individual return duties. Similarly, Smith was the better play in more straight-forward TD-heavy leagues. And I stand by that analysis and maintain that if your scrounging for a starting RB this week, both Stecker and Smith have good value in their respective formats. Keep in mind, Smith saw 18 carries last week. Stecker only got 5, but he also reeled in 4 receptions, led all Saints’ pass targets in receiving yards, and tacked on another 60+ returning kicks. We’ve chronicled how iffy the Falcon’s run defense has been in the past, so the Week 14 upside for these two looks serviceable.

T.J. Duckett – ATL RB: Recommended last week as someone to play in Week 14, if need be. If he’s on your roster, this is a great week to use him if you don’t have a more reliable RB who isn’t splitting carries.

Tony Fisher –GB RB: Gado is still the man on the ground for Green Bay, but Fisher’s role as a third down back and a legitimate pass target for Brett Favre appears to be blossoming. Over the last three games Fisher has seen 20 passes and caught 14 of them for 127 yards. Add to that a few rushing yards each game and you’ve got a source of cheap points in a PPR league. Though, this week’s match up with Detroit looks somewhat appealing, as pass-catching RBs seem to put good work in on the Lions. Detroit allows an average of 5.2 receptions per game (tied for 3rd most) and 42.6 receiving yards per game (5th most) to opposing RBs. Sure, you’d have to be very desperate to start Fisher this week. But he’s available in like 67% of Fanball leagues, so assuming you are that desperate, at least he’s largely available. Expect a modest contribution from Fisher this week, but he’ll probably cough up something you can use.

Michael Bennett – MIN RB: Bennett is such a fantasy tease. He’s stayed healthy for the first time in years. He’s had two big games (both against the Lions in Weeks 9 and 13). And he has a solid chance to start this week against a vulnerable Rams’ DEF (5th most points allowed to opposing RBs this year). But Mewelde Moore swears he’ll be healthy enough to play this week and Head Coach Mike Tice hasn’t said anything one way or the other. But even if Bennett does start he has yet to string two productive games together this season and remains a very high-risk play. That said, if he’s available on waivers and you’re in need of a RB this week, the upside certainly exists. A little more so in PPR leagues, as Bennett is actually touting a rather impressive 90% reception ratio and has seen more love in the passing game with Brad Johnson under center. In fact, 65% of Bennett’s pass targets, and all of his TDs, have come in the last five weeks. But then again, so did a 3 carry -3 yard performance (Week 12).

Artose Pinner – DET RB: We discussed Pinner and Shawn Bryson last week a little, but nothing serious. Turns out Kevin Jones sat and Pinner and Bryson both had pretty good games… in a relative sense. Pinner had over 100 combined yards, including three receptions, and a score. I have no idea whether Kevin Jones will sit or play next week, but I think Jones’ owners ought to consider adding Pinner to their roster in case of another game time decision because last week Pinner got over two-thirds of the carries, which included two in the red zone, averaged 4.6 yards per carry, and saw four pass targets.

While Green Bay has allowed only 6 rushing TDs this season (only five teams have allowed fewer), it is nevertheless permitting 3.9 YPC. When coupled with the fact that opponents elect to run on the Packers an average of 31 per game (only five teams get run on more), its not that hard to see why Green Bay is allowing an average of 122.2 yards per game (7th most in the NFL). The match up is good enough than even those who do not own Kevin Jones might consider adding Pinner, at least until we learn more about Jones’ status for Week 14. If you’re in a really big league, Shawn Bryson is also worth a look, though I like him in PPR leagues more. Bryson was targeted 7 times last week – the 2nd most of any Lion – and achieved 4.8 YPC on the limited carries he did get (6). However, it is worth noting that he’s averaging 5.2 YPC on the season. But be warned: part of the reason Pinner got the bulk of the carries last week is that Bryson got banged up during the game. So in reality, if you’re going to step into this mess, you’ll need to keep an eye on both Jones and Bryson’s status.

Bo Scaife – TEN TE: While Scaife has been no model of consistency, splitting time with Erron Kinney and Ben Troupe, he has registered more than 50 yards in each of his last two games. And now he is one of just 2 given that Erron Kinney would likely miss the rest of the season after electing to have knee surgery. Plus, even when Kinney wasn’t hurt, over the last 5 games Scaife has seen his pass targets go: 1, 4, 6, 8, then 10. And he got 2 looks in the red zone last week. Toss in a 73.68% reception ratio, and a Texans' DEF that has been the 7th most productive for opposing TEs this season, and you can see why I'm not to concerned about Scaife's downside. He’s worth a shot in large leagues this week, especially if you get points for receptions. However, he is likely a temporary solution, at best but one who can be counted on to see a lot of short passing opportunities. Scaife makes a lot more sense in PPR leagues. If your league does not award points for receptions, then Ben Troupe is also very much in the mix and is the more likely candidate to score a TD.

Team Defense Follow Up

I updated the rankings for the weak offenses we’re stalking. Predictably, the Jets, Ravens, and Rams got a little worse after last week. But the Bills aren’t looking quite as pathetic as they did two weeks ago. However, the teams we’re targeting are fundamentally the same. The team defenses in italics are obvious plays that probably weren’t their owners any line up headaches to begin with. The ones in bold more or less form the basis of my recommendations for this week, including what look to be favorable match ups in the coming weeks for those of you who believe in advance planning.

The Prey Week 14 Week 15 Week 16

Raiders’ DEF: I don’t like the Raiders’ DEF, normally. But against the Jets – who are the only offense we’re stalking that appears in each of the six the categories of sucktacularness we’re measuring – we might have to make an exception. The Raiders are allowing about the 9th most yards per game (327), 6th most points per game (24.7), and have accrued only 16 turnovers (only 5 teams have fewer). So I caution you to use the Raiders only if nothing obviously better is available. But without getting into all the dirty little details, keep in mind that the Jets made the normally docile Patriots’ DEF a top 8 or 10 performer last week. And yet despite that good outing, the Raiders’ DEF has still outperformed the Patriots for fantasy purposes on the season to date. By a lot.

Broncos’ DEF: I detailed this pick last week as one you’d want to grab in advance in order to play this week. Don’t let their small game against the Chiefs dissuade you from starting the Broncos at home versus the Ravens. I figured Denver would have trouble with the Chiefs, which is why I suggested keeping them on the bench last week. Personally, I’m still debating between the Broncos and the Bears’ DEF for Week 14 in my Huddle league. That’s how much I like them this week.

Vikings’ DEF: They’re still winning and now the Rams are losing. It’s still feels dangerous to bet against St. Louis’ offense, but let’s be honest: it isn’t the same team without Marc Bulger. Or perhaps even Mike Martz. The Vikings are still playing well on defense, though Week 13 was pretty nondescript. I don’t love this match up, but I mentioned last week that it could be serviceable, assuming you can’t find anything obviously better. I stand by that recommendation: you should feel comfortable that the clever Vikings’ DEF will see a fair share of opportunities against a Rams’ offense that has surrendered the 3rd most sacks (42), is tied for the 4th most turnovers lost (28), with a rookie QB at the helm who looked every bit the part last week.

Packers’ DEF: Recommended last week, they got it done against the Bears for fantasy purposes. Expect more of the same when the sloppy Lions visit Green Bay. With the 7th fewest points on offense, and 6th fewest average offensive yards per game, the Lions simply aren’t doing enough to seriously poison the fantasy value of the team defenses who oppose them. And the Pack’s DEF has had five moderately productive outings in a row. I’m not expecting a huge upside here, but they easily should pull their weight this week.

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

Ryan Fitzpatrick – STL QB: Nope, still can’t get behind this guy despite the schedule and supporting cast.

David Garrard – JAX QB: No need for a detailed analysis. Between what I wrote about him last week and his Week 13 peformance, Garrard has established himself as a worth while pick up. This week’s match up with the Colts doesn’t look very good, but after that he finishes the season with perhaps the softest opponents possible: San Francisco and Houston. If he’s still available, grab him.

J.P. Losman – BUF QB: I said a few weeks back that Losman was a decent acquisition specifically for use against the Patriots this week. I’m going to back off that statement a little. Losman had a good game last week, but so did the Patriots. While Losman’s upside and the state of the Patriots’ secondary are just sitting there, staring you in the face, I just can’t get over the feeling that the Patriots will have their way this week. The numbers part of my brain loves this match up. But my gut is telling me to stay away. Be careful with this one; I do not recommend benching even a decent, proven performer for Losman this week. But if you are in “desperate times call for desperate measures” mode, then cross your fingers, pour a stiff drink, and pray Losman performs up to his potential.

Charlie Frye – CLE QB: Sometimes there’s a fine line between healthy skepticism and outright pessimism. I’m not pessimistic about rookie Charlie Frye, as he completed 65% of his passes last week for 226 passing yards, 2 TDs, no turnovers, and tacked on another 10 rushing yards against a normally respectable Jaguars’ defense. That was like a top 6 QB performance from Frye last week.

However, several recent relief QBs (McMahon, Bollinger, Martin, and Fitzpatrick, for example) have lured us into a false sense of confidence after just one good game, only to disappoint thereafter. Plus, Frye doesn’t exactly have a strangle hold on the starting spot. Plus, WR Braylon Edwards – who was on the receiving end of both Frye’s TDs last week – is lost for the season. Plus, the Browns’ strength of schedule is about the 13th worst for QB production over the next three weeks. Pick Frye up if you want to, as the upside could be there. Because *if* it is, Week 15 versus an adrift Raiders’ team could be a good play. But starting Frye *this* week against the Bengals is little more than a wild gamble.

Ryan Moats/Lamar Gordon/Reno Mahe – PHI RB: As a Westbrook owner, I searched for reasons to pick up each of these guys. Moats is the early favorite to start Week 14. Regardless, the Eagles are broke down and busted. There may be some production to be had here, but it will likely be volatile at best. Besides, I’d rather not hitch any part of my playoff hopes to a team that’s got nothing left to play for and has all but mailed in the season, return receipt requested.

Courtney Roby – TEN WR: With Roydell Williams out of the picture Roby could see an increased role. However, he and Calico will likely be fighting for whatever is left over after Drew Bennett and the Titans’ tight end get theirs. So the talent pool may be too crowded here. Still, I’m keeping an eye on the distribution of Titan passes this weekend. His 50% reception ratio is nothing to brag about, but maybe he’ll step up.

Dennis Northcutt – CLE WR: Northcutt is a big-play receiver who steps into the starting role in replacement of the injured Braylon Edwards. Northcutt has had a few moments of fantasy significance over the years, so he’s worth a speculative pick up. But his schedule and the Browns’ uncertainty at the quarterback position make him a real risky play. But for a team searching for receiver depth, he could be useful. Grab n’ stash. If he’s involved this week we’ll take a much close look going into Week 15.

Lee Evans – BUF WR: After last week’s performance and the possibility that Eric Moulds might be suspended, Evans should be a popular pick up this week. Upside isn’t his problem; reliability is.

David Givens – NE WR: I used Givens with some good success earlier in the year as a #3 WR in my local, which awards points for receptions. While the Patriots’ box score from last week didn’t look like much, I can’t begin to emphasize how “in control” of the Jets they were. And Givens played a big part. Five receptions for 27 yards may not seem like much, but if and when the Patriots opt to kick their offense into high gear you can count on Givens being both more involved and more productive. I consider Givens good post-season WR bench depth going forward, though I’d be hesitant to rely on him as an every week starter except in very large leagues.

Bryan Fletcher – IND TE: In old school TD-only leagues, you can’t ignore the fact that Fletcher has scored three weeks in a row. Outside of the TDs, however, he sees very little in the way of either receptions or yardage, which makes him a very risky proposition for the rest of us.

David Akers – PHI PK: Nothing personal, Dave. It’s not you.

Robbie Gould CHI PK: Hey, I’ve seen what this guy has done in the last nine games. He gets field goal opportunities, no doubt. But an away game in Pittsburgh, a home game in Chicago, then an away game in Green Bay gives Gould one of the most kicker-hostile schedules going forward, for both weather-related reasons and strength of opposing DEF. He’s not a bad pick, but there may an equally good kicker with a better schedule available and less risk of crappy weather conditions.

The Waiver Wire Report Card

I’ve had my good weeks and I’ve had my bad weeks. Last week was a good week. 10 hits of varying degree, 1 push, 3 misses, and 1 deferred adjudication. Hopefully you found something helpful. Of course, in retrospect I realized that I sort of neglected the WR, TE, and PK positions, which didn’t really hit me until after I’d submitted last week’s column. Sorry about that.

Kurt Warner – ARI QB: 29 of 45 (64.44% completion ratio) for 354 passing yards, 1 TD, and two turnovers. Figured one more TD would have been in the cards for this Card, but a top-10 fantasy QB for Week 13 makes Warner a solid Hit.

David Garrard – JAX QB: Dude played better than I expected him to, though in much the style I expected him to. Top-12 or so performance, which ain’t so bad: 116 passing yards, 23 rushing yards, 2 TDs and only one turnover. Folks, we may have found ourselves a late-season every-week solution at the QB position. Hit.

Miami/New Orleans RBs: Recommended the Ricky Williams and/or Ronnie Brown portion of this coupling for Week 13. Williams had 78 combined yards, which included 6 receptions and a touchdown. Brown collected 52 combined yards, including 2 receptions and a score. Double hit.

Arizona/New Orleans RBs: Recommended the Arizona – specifically JJ Arrington – part of this pairing for Week 13. Eh, 59 yards on the ground and another 16 yards on three receptions – and no turnovers – weren’t half bad. No winning lottery ticket, but he chipped in as a top-30 RB last week. Very modest hit.

Carolina/New Orleans: Recommended the DeShaun Foster part of this contraption for week 13, but also gave a tepid endorsement to Stephen Davis. 131 rushing yards, 3 receptions for 49 more, and 2 TDs made Foster the leading fantasy RB in many leagues last week. Colossal hit. Davis, on the other hand, did nothing. Miss.

Greg Jones – JAX RB/T.J. Duckett – ATL RB: Recommended the Greg Jones half for this week: 103 rushing yards and 1 pass for 9 more = top 24 RB. Hit.

Chris Perry – CIN RB: Wow, Perry, where did you go? Huge miss.

Jamal Lewis – BAL RB: I specifically warned you not to play Lewis unless Chester Taylor sat. Taylor ended up playing. Both registered about 40 yards and a fumble. Push (would have been a miss, but for the Taylor-sitting legal disclaimer).

Jimmy Smith – JAX WR: Led all Jaguar receivers with 3 receptions, 49 yards, and a score… his first since Week 4. Smith didn’t win the day for anyone, but he was a top 20 WR who has seen 34 passes in the last three weeks, which have been fairly evenly distributed. If you played him last week you can’t be upset with his output, and you got him back all nice and productive just in time for the playoffs. Hit.

Denver’s DEF: I did NOT recommend playing the Broncos’ DEF this week; in fact, I specifically warned you against doing so. But I maintain that it will be a good pick up for use in the coming weeks. Deferred adjudication.

Miami’s DEF: eh, a top 15 or so fantasy DEF play last week. My expectations were higher but Miami still contributed something useful. Modest hit.

Vikings’ DEF: The Vikings scored fewer points than Miami, but were barely a top 20 fantasy DEF last week. I played them and they were better than the Falcons (my other option) but that’s not saying much. Small miss.

Packers’ DEF: Heh. Top 12 DEF. I told you, if your team DEF situation is shaky, pick the Pack up and stash ‘em. If you can get better week-to-week match ups, great. If not, this squad will give you something useful every week from here on out. Hit.

I think I’ve prattled on for enough this week, folks. Though, it appears I have once again inadvertently neglected a detailed analysis of the WR position this week. So next week I will focus on lesser receivers that have good upside during these last few weeks. The #3 WR position is usually an area of great flux in production, so finding one that is likely to perform better than usual is a great way to squeeze some extra firepower out of your squad.

My parting advice this week is to handcuff your stuff running backs, if you haven’t done so already. Last week we saw Westbrook go on IR, the LaDainian Tomlinson back injury scare, Shaun Alexander play for little more than half a game, and the Colts lock up a playoff spot. Now, more than ever, its time to make room for those productive back ups. Okay, I’m out. Good luck in Week 14, may your squad remain injury-free, and game on!