Rick Olson
On Second Thought - Week 9

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From here on out player production seems fairly straight forward, give or take a few points or the occasional bad week. I would be willing to say that under most circumstances if you have done your due diligence you will probably be correct on most of your projections.

There are some facts, however, that I’d like you to consider before making that big move. These are facts that concern some of fantasy football’s biggest and most infamous players that should not go unnoticed before you make that blockbuster deal.

These facts are not so much meant to sway you one way or another as they are meant to give you a broader picture of the situation regarding a specific player or team going forward so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Let’s start with one of the biggest stories this season, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. I am certainly not telling you to trade Manning or any of the Broncos, but, please remember, since it is no secret, that Manning tends to not play well in cold weather.

I have two different leagues where owners have at least three Broncos starters, if not more. Needless to say, those teams are crushing their respective leagues so far. I am not worried however, as Manning’s performance falters when it’s cold. Take for instance his postseason record. He is 9-7 in fair weather postseason games. Conversely, he is 0-4 in cold weather playoff games.

It is not a mystery why Indianapolis elected to keep the dome open two weeks ago when the Broncos played the Colts. It was 54 degrees out that night. Normally that roof would be closed but they decided to keep it open and they just happened to go out and become the first team to beat the Broncos this year. Coincidence?

As stated earlier, this is not just a problem for Manning owners. If Manning’s production drops off in the cold and he is playing in Denver where the average high temperature in the month of December (fantasy playoff time) is 46 degrees, he will not complete as many passes to Demaryius Thomas , Julius Thomas , Wes Welker and Eric Decker . If the passing game is not as prolific, teams can keep an extra person or two in the box against Knowshon Moreno .

Amazing how many people can be affected by one quarterback.

Speaking of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and how much they can affect a game, Tom Brady has had a disconcerting year to say the least. There are articles out there from experts claiming that it is time to start other quarterbacks over Brady. I can understand if you want to bench him, but before you do, consider that last week was the first week that Brady had both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amedola on the field together.

He has had eight weeks to work with the rest of the receivers. Shane Vereen is also coming back very soon. Unlike Manning, Brady tends to get better as the weather gets colder and the pressure gets higher.

In the same division, the Buffalo Bills have a few players that have really affected fantasy teams both negatively and positively. C.J. Spiller has been one of the biggest busts this season and because of that Fred Jackson has been one of the best fantasy pickups. Consider this - Spiller has been hurt all year and is now finally just taking a week off.

Jackson looks very strong and has six touchdowns in eight weeks. He is the sixth-ranked running back in the NFL. Spiller still is not healthy. Even if he comes back from his week off in perfect health, he will need time to get into the swing of things. There are only five weeks left in the regular season for most fantasy leagues.

One last set of facts regarding the AFC East concerns tight end Charles Clay of the Miami Dolphins. Clay has been consistent since Week 1 in receptions and yardage. He has now scored in three of his last four games. Clay ranks in the top-10 of all tight ends. Clay is still available in about half the leagues out there.



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