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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Upon Further Review - Week 14
David Dorey and John Tuvey
December 11, 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.

Ryan grant (at chi) - PROJECTION: 60 rush + 20 Rcv yds, SBL RATING: s2

TUVEY: 80 yards vs. an S2 doesn't sound that far off. Perhaps I'm a little more optimistic that Grant is capable of improving on the 61 and one he posted in Week 1, when the Bears still had playoff aspirations and Brian Urlacher and the Packers offense had yet to hit its stride.

DOREY: I am a little down on Grant this week mainly because he did post the 60 yards and a score in the previous matchup and now it in is Chicago where the Bears play better. Granted - not well enough to win nearly enough but well enough that only two runners have scored there this year. Grant has been mediocre lately and on the road just just an average play to me.

CONSENSUS: 80 total yards is certainly worth playing and the value of Grant goes maybe a bit higher considering that he rarely shares any workload and never has a really bad game. He is a safe play but not likely to make a difference for your team.

Steve Breaston (AT sf) - PROJECTION: 50 YDS + TD, SBL RATING: B

TUVEY: Breaston was a nice fantasy option when Anquan Boldin was hurt and the Cardinals had no running game. Now, however, as evidenced by five catches the past three games, he's too far down the pecking order to be trusted with a fantasy start. Especially against the 49ers, who have allowed exactly one visiting wideout to score on them. Let's say they double that total; that still doesn't get them down past Boldin and Fitz. I'd love to have a different perspective; I own Breaston in multiple leagues, however, so I know the anguish of needing even a little bit from him and not getting squat. I just don't see any reason for that to change now that Boldin is firing on all cylinders and the Hightower/Wells backfield is taking a bite out of Warner's pass attempts.

DOREY: Now I will agree and stated in the Predictions and Projections that there has only been one passing score to a wideout in San Francisco. That went to Roddy White along with his 210 yards. And he scored twice. But let's also consider the cast of other #1 wideouts that have been through SF - Nate Burleson, Donnie Avery, Justin Gage, Devin Hester and Mike Sims-Walker. Not exactly top of the charts and Sims-Walker has been really quiet lately. On the road they have allowed seven in six games and those to the guys like Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings and Sidney Rice. Both Minnesota and Green Bay posted double touchdowns on then this year. I have more respect for their rushing defense than their secondary. I liked two passing scores here and Fitzgerald is always the most likely. Next to him - Breaston and Boldin are about even but Boldin scored twice last week and Breaston has scored in a couple of road games.

CONSENSUS: Ranking Breaston as a bench player is certainly the safest move and even the projection only has 50 yards. The touchdown was awarded to Breaston as the more likely to catch it on the team but there is no major confidence that he will score. Consider Breaston as just 50 yards to be safe which likely makes him mildly worthwhile only in a really large league.

Hakeem Nicks (vs nyg) - PROJECTION: 50 YDS + TD, SBL RATING: B

TUVEY: Nicks didn't score in the previous Philly game despite Mario Manningham not playing due to injury; he has one touchdown in his last five games and hasn't produced enough yardage to offset the risk of not providing a touchdown. Steve Smith is Eli's go-to guy, and against Philly I just don't see digging down the Giants' wide receiver depth chart as a prudent move for those hoping to get out of the first round of their fantasy playoffs. If the Eagles are susceptible to faster wideouts, wouldn't Manningham be the better play?

DOREY: Granted, Nicks only has one score in the last five games (and four straight prior to that convenient stopping point). Manningham has not scored in the last five games at all. Steve Smith has scored only once in the last right games. The 50 yard mark is more like a bench player as indicated above so the question comes down to that score. I like Nicks a lot and he is one of the best weapons the Giants have. He is also the one most likely to be running the odd plays from different positions. But the score is an obvious risk to rely on.

CONSENSUS: Nicks has upside every week but considering only the yardage - which is far more reliable - he's likely better left on the bench this week. The touchdown is a single play event. That one play may or may not happen in so many different ways.

Nate Burleson (AT hou) - PROJECTION: 70 YDS, SBL RATING: B

TUVEY: Really, we're debating Nate Burleson? Cue Ben Folds; it's the battle of who could care less. Neither of us like Burleson enough to project a touchdown, and even 70 yards seems generous given how craptastic Seattle's wideouts have been thus far this year. Hey, if 70 yards floats your boat in the first round of the fantasy playoffs maybe you're playing in too big of a league. The SBL lists 42 receivers as projected starts; I'm comfortable saying I'd rather trot any of those guys out rather than risk the sort of inconsistency Burleson has provided.

DOREY: The yardage for Burleson was arrived at because I had a couple of hundred yards to divvy up and Burleson has tended to play his better games on the road against non-divisional opponents (@DAL 6-100 and @MIN 6-89 + TD). But there is no denying how inconsistent he has been getting blanked in Arizona and having just 46 yards in St. Louis most recently. I readily admit the risk in relying on Burleson.

CONSENSUS: Burleson is a risky play and one that has actually had a game with no catches just four weeks ago. The Seahawks will want to use him and he is likely to have at least minor success but expecting more than marginal yardage may be optimistic. The risk is high with Burleson.

Justin Forsett (AT hou) - PROJECTION: 20 rush and 20 rcv yds + TD, YDS, SBL RATING: b

TUVEY: Forsett is sharing carries—nay, the minority shareholder in the Seattle backfield. As the PP states, "confidence is low" for Forsett to score and 40 yards from scrimmage isn't putting you on track for the Shiva Bowl. If you have your heart set on starting a No. 2 back, the S3 list has a plethora of better options—among them Shonn Greene, Ryan Moats, and Felix Jones.

DOREY: Agreed - I intentionally gave him minimal yardage to dissuade people from wanting to start him. With a passing score to award and Forsett recording one just last week made him the best place to place the touchdown but there is very little confidence that it would be him more than another player.

CONSENSUS: By all means, Forsett is a risky play that should stay on the bench this week.

Quinton Ganther (AT oak) - PROJECTION: 70 RUSH + 10 RCV YDS, SBL RATING: S3

TUVEY: The SBL initially had Ganther as an S2, but that must have been the Nyquil talking; after taking a look at the other S2 backs, Ganther was downgraded to S3 status. And the PP's updated projections certainly fall in line with an S3. Basically, both of us are saying the Raiders' run defense is abysmal and Ganther will have first shot at exploiting said defense. 

DOREY: I updated the game page for him here which goes into some detail about why I added him into the projections but also why I have a limited amount of optimism that he will have a big game. Suffice it to say his 50 yards last week was a career high and after four years in the NFL, he is still waiting on his first touchdown.

CONSENSUS: It makes sense that Ganther gets hype now because how many new guys are there in week 14? With so many players like Turner, Westbrook, Portis, Slaton, etc. out this week if not for good, it is tempting to camp out on the waiver wire to grab a nobody like Ganther. Were this week three of the season, Ganther would be of marginal interest. He does have a nice opportunity this week albeit in a road game. He's worth a play if you have very few options but he's never started a game every. Buyer beware.

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.

Other Features
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Start / Bench List
Game Predictions
Player Projections
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