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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Sneaky Late-Season Plays
Joe Levit
November 28, 2007

There are many reasons certain players excel in the NFL in the second half of a season. An offense designed one way can simply finally start to click. A guy returning from injury can lift the game of his fellow player. Mounting injuries pave opportunities for backup players to shine.

What was working early in the season might not be working for your fantasy squad now. And the dormant duds of September and October may be looking shiny right now. Though it may not affect your top players, it is still critical to make sure the second-back, flex and third-receiver slots in your starting lineup are shored up.

Here are some guys playing better than most owners can appreciate. Get them now or play them if you have them over players who have lost a step as the season wears on.

Justin Fargas, Raiders – Fargas now has a firm hold on the Raiders running back job this season. He has only two touchdowns on the year, but both have come in the last four games, when he has been offered consistent opportunity. He has logged a nice 717 yards rushing this season, with big games of 179 and 139 yards rushing. His last four games reveal steady attempt totals and solid production, considering the 60-yard performance was against the stout Minnesota run defense.

Week Carries Yards Rushing Touchdowns
9 23 104 1
10 23 81 0
11 22 60 0
12 22 139 1

Maurice Morris, Seahawks – Alexander being out has been a boon for Morris. The Seahawks have won their last three games, all while Morris has had 16 or more carries. Owners can ride him while he plays. Here is how he has been looking over those three weeks.

Week Carries Yards Rushing Touchdowns
10 28 87 1
11 18 87 1
12 16 79 0

Ron Dayne, Texans – Could it be that all Dayne has ever needed in the NFL is a team to give him a prolonged chance at being the main back? He is getting a number of carries each week now in place of Ahman Green. Here are his latest three weeks, with the bye sandwiched in-between. His yards per carry were 5.8, 4.2 and 4.9, respectively.

Week Carries Yards Rushing Touchdowns
9 21 122 1
BYE      
11 21 89 0
12 16 78 0

Reggie Williams, Jaguars – With David Garrard back in the lineup, Williams has begun to play well again. He has one long touchdown in three of his last four games. The only unfortunate and risky part is that he logs very few receptions each week. He will have a tough time this week against the Colts, but will be targeted for certain.
 

Week Catches Yards Receiving Touchdowns
9 6 128 1
10 1 13 0
11 2 62 1
12 1 59 1

Deion Branch, Seahawks – The Seahawks are on a win streak, the team is passing the ball and Branch is back. He got on a nice streak early this year and could easily do so again now. He is getting a decent number of receptions, with four two weeks ago and five for 92 yards and a touchdown last week.

Sidney Rice, Vikings – Rice has been posting some up-and-down statistics, but with the chance to make big plays more often as he gets more experience, his quarterback gets more experience and the Vikings become a stronger team overall. Over the last four weeks he has two lame games (zero catches in week 10 at Green Bay and two receptions for 18 yards versus Oakland) sandwiched between very nice outings. In week nine he had four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown, and last week at the New York Giants he had three receptions for 82 yards and a score.

Adrian Peterson, Bears – Peterson has long been a runner waiting for his opportunity. He sports a 4.4 career yards per carry average. Now that underachiever Cedric Benson is out with a bum ankle, look for Peterson to play well the rest of the season.

Earnest Graham, Buccaneers – Graham has been surprisingly successful this season, especially of late. He has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games, and rushed for over 100 yards in two of them. He remains a focal point of a Tampa Bay offense that is keeping the team in games.

Kolby Smith, Chiefs – Larry Johnson could be playing at any time, but Smith had a nice debut last week against the Raiders, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. His 4.8-yard average in that contest was a good sign of other potential big games.

Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars – Lewis had five receptions for 57 yards last week in a win over the Bills, and now that two other team tight ends are out with injuries (George Wrighster and Gregg Estandia) he should receive plenty of reception opportunities each game.

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