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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Upon Further Review - Week 6
David Dorey and John Tuvey
October 16, 2009
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In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.

Julius Jones (vs ARI) - Projection: 60 yds rush, 10 yds receive + 1 TD, SBL Rating: B

Tuvey: We could just cut and paste last week's Julius Jones debate, only this time we're switching roles with DMD defending Juice and me having learned my lesson. Of all the positive trends in Jones' favor last week—a soft opponent, a home game, the bulk of the carries—the only one in play this week is the venue. No back has fared well against the Cards this year, and last week Jones lost carries to Edgerrin James and Justin Forsett. Fool me once, and I won't get fooled again... or something like that.

Dorey: Thing with last week though was that James and Forsett got playing time because it was a 41-0 blowout. James only had three carries by the times the Seahawks had rolled up a 20-0 lead and he had 11 runs in the second half when no one cared any more. Trust me - I am not comfortable touting Julius Jones at all though. Rushing for only 60 yards in a home game is not what you want from a fantasy back and the only real point of contention is that I projected a rushing score for the Seahawks which most likely goes to Jones. Neither Edgerrin James nor Justin Forsett have scored this season while Jones has three touchdowns. Notable too is that Jones at home had games of 136 yds and a score when the Rams came and then 136 yards and a touchdown when the Bears showed up. He would have done better last week but he got pulled in the blowout. Now the Cardinals have a better rushing defense so do not expect 136 yards and a score for the third time in a row but I like Jones - at home - to have 70 total yards with a good shot at a touchdown.

Consensus: No arguing that the Cards are good against the run since no runner has topped 66 rushing yards against them this season. But at home Jones always plays better and the Seahawks passing game only needs to reach the goal line once for Jones to have a shot at a touchdown. We agree to disagree this week so consider Jones as a riskier play this week.

Steve Smith-NYG (at BUF) - Projection: 100 yds + 1 TD, SBL Rating: S3

Tuvey: I'm buying into the Saints defense at least a little bit here; after all, they've held three of the quarterbacks they've faced without a passing touchdown. So basically this is about risk. There are three primary receivers fighting for Eli Manning's attention, and if there's only one touchdown to give I don't know that Smith has better than a 33% chance of claiming it. The yardage should be fine—Smith is the most consistent of the Giants' trio of receivers—but a score is hardly assured. Smith isn't bench material, but I don't see him as one of the week's best WR plays, either.

Dorey: I see this one going to the air more this week since the Saints are much better against the run this year and while only one team scored on them via a pass, it was the Eagles who by far had a better passing offense than did the Bills, Lions or Jets. The Giants are going to be much more akin to the Eagles performance when Kevin Kolb passed for 391 yards and two scores. I do not see the Giants passing quite that much but the two passing scores - sure. And those should end up with wide receivers as it did with the Eagles (Jackson and Avant). Jackson playing the same split end as Steve Smith and carrying the same #1 wideout tag like he does had 101 yards and a score against the Saints. I think Steve Smith will do the same and is more likely to catch a score than either Hakeem NIcks or Mario Manningham (who I projected a score for).

Consensus: We both think the Giants can pass but Dorey believes the Giants will be more like the Eagles than the Bills, Lions or Jets. We'd come together to say he is a decent play this week and has upside for a very good game.

Steve Slaton (at CIN) - Projection: 40 yd rush, 40 yd receive, SBL Rating: S2

Tuvey: Here we go again on Slaton. Last week I had him as an S2 and he produced 98 yards from scrimmage and six catches; in most performance leagues, that's a decent week's work. And those numbers weren't all that far from DMD's projections, either, so in essence we were both right—I just saw Slaton's glass as half full and DMD saw it as half-empty. So let's do this dance again. I like Slaton for triple-digit yardage from scrimmage against a Bengals defense that's surrendered exactly that to three straight feature backs—and I see the upside in a guy who brings receiving skills to the table against a defense that's allowed two RB receiving TDs in the last three weeks. I'd add that maybe this is the week Gary Kubiak figures out Chris Brown as the goal line guy has cost his team two wins and he decides to keep his best players on the field, but NFL coaches don't admit their mistakes so we may have to wait a while for that one. And now for the glass-half-empty report, here's DMD...

Dorey: What in anything that Slaton has done in 2009 spawns any optimism? The only 100 yard effort that he had was against the visiting Jaguars - whoopee. What will be telling this week is what they are going to do with him as a receiver since he had six catches last week for 59 yards but had never caught more than three passes in the previous four games. He has faced only two decent defenses this year and had 9 carries (NYJ) and 13 carries (@ARI) in those games. Slaton has actually gone through the easier part of his schedule with mediocre stats at best. His glass is not half empty, it is just a smaller glass this year. He's not running as well and that is affecting how the Texans use him. His receptions are truly his saving grace.

Consensus: Not sure the difference between an "S2" and 80 total yards really is but using him this week is a calculated risk that he will have enough receptions to make him worthy of starting - particularly and maybe only in a points-per-reception league.

Ahmad Bradshaw (at NO) - Projection: 50 yd rush, 20 yd receive, SBL Rating: S2

Tuvey: As in previous weeks, I see Brandon Jacobs working the body of the opposing defense before giving way to Bradshaw for the uppercuts and knockout punches. Bradshaw's numbers have been better, and while he hasn't done much as a receiver if the game does turn into a pass fest he's the more likely of the two backs to benefit. So I wouldn't be surprised by something approaching triple-digit yardage; plus Bradshaw has at least as good a shot at a touchdown as Jacobs. 

Dorey: By now we can agree that John and I see the NO-NYG game a little differently. I believe that the Giants are going to win and he thinks the Saints are. That affects how we break down the individual players. Again - is there really that much difference between 70 total yards and a "S2"? I predict 60 yards and a score for Jacobs but the touchdown could go either way. I picked Jacobs mainly because the two other runners to rush in a score (Kevin Smith and Thomas Jones) were both bigger backs than Bradshaw and I come across a little less high on Bradshaw because they will be playing on the fast carpet of the Superdome and this defense is used to the faster players. I just see more passing happening this game too.

Consensus: One thing to consider is that Bradshaw has been held out of practice to rest his ankle and foot injuries and playing on the carpet in New Orleans is not going to speed his healing process though he is expect to be plenty well enough to play in this game. Bradshaw is going to be a little more risky this week on the road against an undefeated team that has a decent defense. In a PPR league, he's going to worth the risk since at worst he should produce moderate numbers. If you get no points per receptions, then Bradshaw becomes a much bigger risk to rely on.

Start Bench List Ratings:
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.

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