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Free Agent Forecast - Week 10
Paul Sandy
November 10, 2009
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Rockstar Rockstar Performer / Free Agent
Worth a Look Worth a Look
Injury Injury Replacement
Sleeper Sleeper
Rescue Roster Rescue / Temporary Fix
Outlook Favorable Schedule Outlook


No Brainers: Matt Cassel, Jay Cutler and David Garrard

1. Alex Smith, 49ers
RockstarSmith has posted quality fantasy stats in two consecutive games, making him roster worthy in any league. Although he threw three costly interceptions, Smith should continue to get the start for San Francisco, granted he might be on a short leash. Chicago is on tap next, which is a favorable matchup. The Bears are coming off a game in which they allowed five passing touchdowns to Kurt Warner. It’s the second time in three weeks Chicago has allowed a QB to throw for five scores. Smith is worth a start this week if you’re desperate for QB help.

Availability: Owned in ~47% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Smith has posted back-to-back quality fantasy performances and is worth a roster spot in all leagues.

2. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
RockstarIn his first NFL start, Freeman threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers. More impressive than his stats was Freeman’s ability to lead his team to a fourth quarter win—something his counterpart in the game Aaron Rodgers has rarely accomplished. It’s too early to trust Freeman for anything more than a roster spot as a backup or a speculative grab in keeper leagues. However, for now he’s looking like a guy who has staying power. Only two teams are on bye next week, but if you need some QB help, Freeman is a fair plug and play option against a young Dolphins secondary.

Availability: Owned in ~6% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Freeman is an up and comer; he should be owned in all dynasty leagues as well as deeper re-draft leagues.


No Brainers: Julius Jones, LeSean McCoy, Laurence Maroney, Derrick Ward and Ricky Williams

1. Ladell Betts, Redskins
RockstarInjuryRedskins starter Clinton Portis left Sunday’s game against the Falcons early with a concussion. Betts took over and looked fresh and quick. He ended the day with 93 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. As we’ve seen with Brian Westbrook, concussions can be keep players out for a week or two. Betts may prove to be more than just a one-week flash in the pan. He’s no stranger to fantasy relevance. In 2006, he posted over 1,500 total yards from scrimmage. Add him this week but don’t break the bank if you’re in league that awards free agents through a bidding system. Betts figures to get one or maybe two starts since Portis is “doubtful” for Week 10.

Availability: Owned in ~11% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Betts is worth an add in all leagues but has an iffy matchup this week against the Broncos.

2. Kolby Smith, Chiefs
Worth a LookWhat had all the makings of a breakout game for Jamaal Charles ended with just six rushing attempts for 36 yards. He added 19 yards through the air but failed to cross the stripe. Even though Kolby Smith was just pulled off the PUP list last week, he earned four carries and racked up 17 yards. With Kansas City’s decision to release Larry Johnson, look for the Chiefs to use the remainder of the season as an audition of sorts for both Charles and Smith. Both players will likely see time. 

Availability: Owned in ~5% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Smith is a decent speculative pickup in deep leagues.

3. Justin Forsett, Seahawks
Worth a LookAfter the Seahawks severed ties with veteran RB Edgerrin James, third-stringer Justin Forsett was elevated to the backup spot. In Sunday’s game against the Lions, Forsett was used as a change of pace for Julius Jones. At the end of the day, Forsett had 59 total yards. It wasn’t a huge stat line, but the fact that Forsett also had five receptions is significant for points-per-reception leagues. Seattle has some favorable matchups left on the schedule. Consider adding Forsett for roster depth. 

Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Forsett is a viable add in PPR leagues.

4. Leonard Weaver, Eagles
RescueInjuryAfter practicing during the week, Eagles starting RB Brian Westbrook was scratched from Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. Westbrook suffered a scary concussion a few weeks ago. He could return this week against the Chargers but I wouldn’t bet on it. The blow to his head has resulted in ongoing headaches. Until he has the confidence to get back out on the field, he’ll likely be in street clothes. While backup LeSean McCoy gets most of the touches, fullback Leonard Weaver is in the mix, as well. He carried the pill eight times for 33 yards against the Cowboys. This follows a big game two weeks ago in which Weaver posted 75 yards and touchdown. Weaver is worth a one-week flier in deep leagues if Westbrook sits.

Availability: Owned in ~6% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Weaver is a sneaky one-week option against an average Chargers run defense.

5. Larry Johnson, Chiefs
Worth a LookThe Chiefs didn’t want Larry Johnson anymore but that doesn’t mean another team won’t. If he was dumped in your league, he’s worth a grab-and-stash move in case he lands in a favorable situation. Teams that could use some RB help include the Lions, Seahawks, Browns, Patriots, Texans, Buccaneers, Packers and maybe even the Chargers. Johnson’s poor attitude combined with a below-average offensive line limited his effectiveness this season. A change in teams could spark a re-birth for LJ.

Availability: Owned in ~60% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider adding Johnson in case he lands in a situation in which he can earn some carries.

6. Sammy Morris, Patriots
Worth a LookMorris sprained his knee a few weeks ago and for a while the timetable on his return was unknown. It looks like he could return in a week or two, just in time for the playoff run. If you’re currently counting on Laurence Maroney or if you play in a TD-heavy league, it might be worth adding Morris. The Pats have a juicy schedule during the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) with matchups against the Panthers, Bills and Jaguars. If Morris can get back on the field, he could make a late season impact.

Availability: Owned in ~18% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Morris is worth a look in deeper leagues.

7. LenDale White, Titans
RescueStarting White this week won’t be a move for the faint of heart. He’s coming off a game in which he was a nonfactor, rushing just four times for three yards. However, with the Bills on tap next, White should get a few more opportunities and hopefully even one or two of those elusive goal-line carries. Chris Johnson handled the goal-line work on Sunday, but White could get a shot or two against a weak Bills run defense. Buffalo ranks dead last against the run, allowing over 170 yards per game on the ground.

Availability: Owned in ~42% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: White is worth a one-week look against an awful Bills run defense.


No Brainers: Steve Breaston, Nate Burleson and Pierre Garcon

1. Chris Chambers, Chiefs
RockstarAfter he was released by the Chargers, most people (myself included) figured Chambers’ days as a relevant fantasy wideout were over. It turns out a change of scenery may be just what the doctor ordered for the veteran wideout. In his first game as a Chief, Chambers displayed the big play ability that made him a fantasy star back when he played with the Dolphins. He ended the afternoon with three receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Kansas City’s offense is unpredictable and often stagnant, which makes Chambers a risk to start at this point. However, he’s a decent grab-and-stash free agent.

Availability: Owned in ~16% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Chambers is worth a look in all leagues but based on the Chiefs inconsistency isn’t a “must add”.

2. Bernard Berrian, Vikings
Worth a LookBerrian has been limited by a nagging hamstring injury off and on all season but he’s coming off a bye week and should be good to go for Sunday’s tilt against the Lions. If he was dropped in your league, he could be a guy you can snatch off the waiver wire and plug right into your lineup. Berrian has fared well against the Lions historically. Detroit currently ranks 31st in the NFL in pass defense. If he practices all week, give Berrian a shot.

Availability: Owned in ~75% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Berrian represents good waiver wire value in all leagues in which he was dumped.

3. Laveranues Coles, Bengals
InjuryBrowns wideout Chris Henry broke his forearm and will miss the remainder of the season. Henry’s absence should give veteran Laveranues Coles a boost in fantasy value. Coles was a frequent target of throws from QB Carson Palmer in Week 9. He caught six passes for 72 yards. Coles has now posted three useful stat lines in a row. Cincinnati’s upcoming schedule looks pretty sweet with a game against the Steelers next week followed by the Raiders, Browns and Lions. Coles should be added in all leagues at this point and can be used as a third wideout or flex play when the matchup looks right. Also consider adding Andre Caldwell, who has been recommended here before and caught a TD in Week 9.

Availability: Owned in ~37% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Coles is worth a look in all leagues.

4. Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem, Saints
RockstarThey are what they are. Saints wideouts Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem are boom-or-bust fantasy wideouts that can give even the most experienced fantasy owner heartburn—putting up big points one week and disappearing the following week. Both players were major forces in the final box score in Sunday’s slugfest with the Panthers. Henderson caught three passes for 93 yards. Meachem had a team-high 98 yards and a touchdown. With the Rams on tap next for the Saints, Henderson and Meachem are viable plug and play options in all leagues and scoring systems.
Availability: Owned in ~63% and ~15% of leagues respectively.
Forecast guidance: Consider adding Henderson or Meachem in time for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

5. James Jones, Packers
RockstarLike Henderson and Meachem, James Jones is another feast or famine receiver. He doesn’t get many looks each game but provides the big-play potential to take any catch to the house. Jones has scored in three of his last four games. Sunday’s game against the Bucs represented his best performance of the season (103 yards and a touchdown). A meeting this week against the Cowboys doesn’t exactly scream “start me”, but if you’re in a deeper league you could do worse than Jones.

Availability: Owned in ~75% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Jones represents good waiver wire value in all leagues in which he was dumped.


No Brainers: Brent Celek and Greg Olsen

1. Zach Miller, Raiders
RescueComing off a bye week and with the Chiefs up next, Oakland’s Zach Miller should be on your short list if you need TE help this week. Kansas City ranks 30th in the NFL in pass defense. Miller leads all Oakland pass catchers in yards and receptions.

Availability: Owned in ~52% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Miller is worth a flier this week if you need a plug-and-play option..

2. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
RockstarThe Lions haven’t had a quality TE in . . . well . . . have the Lions ever had a quality TE? Rookie Brandon Pettigrew may be the exception to the rule. He posted his first career touchdown on Sunday against the Seahawks and caught seven passes for 70 yards to boot. QB Matthew Stafford was looking to the TE position early and often. In fact, he threw to Detroit’s TEs a total of 19 times on Sunday. Stafford’s willingness to check down to his big TE targets could signify more big games for Pettigrew in the future. Add him as a long-term prospect in keeper and dynasty leagues.

Availability: Owned in ~10% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Pettigrew is worth a roster spot in dynasty leagues or deep leagues.


No Brainers: Matt Stover

1. Rob Bironas, Titans
RockstarBironas was left for dead by fantasy owners after Tennessee got off to a shaky start. Once owned in 99% of fantasy leagues, Bironas is now available in just a shade under 50% of leagues. With the Titans offense starting to click with Vince Young under center and RB Chris Johnson churning out yardage, Bironas is once again a viable weekly starter at the kicker position. He’s banged through double-digit points in consecutive games. With an upcoming game against the Bills, Bironas is a savvy pickup for fantasy owners in all leagues and scoring systems.

Availability: Owned in ~56% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Bironas should be owned in all leagues.


No Brainers: Cincinnati Bengals

1. Dallas Cowboys
RescueThe Cowboys face the Packers this week, making them a great pick up if they’re available. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has been sacked an NFL high 37 times. Even the Tampa Bay Bucs managed to record six sacks against Rodgers. While the Cowboys may have begun the season with a few ineffective fantasy performances, they should be able to chip in some quality points in Week 10. Add them this week and bank on a handful of sacks.

Availability: Owned in ~75% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Cowboys are a safe play this week against the Packers.

2. Tennessee Titans
RescueThe Titans defense was drafted in 98% of fantasy leagues but a slow start has made them widely available. Now’s the time to grab them. Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher has managed to stablize his team. The Titans have won two games in a row. Over those two games, Tennessee’s defense has recorded eight sacks, six turnovers and a touchdown. With the Bills on tap next, snatch the Titans defense up and look for continued productivity.

Availability: Owned in ~25% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Plug and play the Titans defense this week against the Bills.

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