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The Fire Sale - Week 5

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It’s my favorite time of year. For those of you who don’t know I was a huge Bucky Dent fan as a little kid. So after the Yankees traded him away to Texas for Lee Mazzilli I’ve been rooting against the franchise ever since.
 
There’s nothing better than rooting against the Yankees in the playoffs. Living in New York and having so many friends as Yankee fans, it’s so much fun. I mean, I suppose there will come a time when they actually don’t make the playoffs but it would be weird watching the postseason without the Yankees in it. They would really have to make up a bunch of excuses about injuries and terrible signings with all the money they spend to at least not get a wild card spot, especially now that there are two of them.
 
So even though I love football, I’ll be spending a lot of my energy rooting for the Yankees not to win the World Series over the next month. I mean could you imagine a world where the Pirates and Indians made the playoffs and the Yankees didn’t? Come on, don’t be foolish.

Now on with The Fire Sale…

Going Up

Philip Rivers , QB San Diego – I have to really tip my hat to Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt. I backed Rivers for two years while he was struggling but I was totally down on this entire Chargers offense heading into 2013. I thought Rivers and Antonio Gates were done. I thought Whisenhunt did a horrible job in Arizona for the most part but everyone on the Chargers has proven me wrong so far. In my book, they’re the biggest surprise of the 2013 season.
 
After 2011, I fully expected Rivers to bounce back but after watching him consistently air mail passes into the stands and throw balls at receiver’s feet last year, I thought he was all done to the point where I didn’t draft a single San Diego player in any of my leagues. Now I’m touting Rivers as a starter in 12–team leagues.

If you know me, you know I admit when I’m wrong and I was completely off when it came to the Chargers this summer. McCoy and Whisenhunt have done a sensational coaching job thus far. I’m a fan of great coaching, even if I thought differently beforehand. Despite all the injuries at receiver, McCoy and Whisenhunt are still getting the most out of what they have in San Diego by using smart schemes and putting their players in position to maximize their talents.
 
Maybe Rivers and the Chargers will come back to earth but right now if you don’t have one of the elite quarterbacks, Rivers is worth starting most weeks. San Diego can’t really run the football, so look for them to use the short passing game instead to make up for it, which benefits Rivers and
Danny Woodhead the most when it comes to fantasy value.
 
Roy Helu , RB Washington – I’ve always been a huge Helu fan. I’ll be honest, I’ve expected much more from him but I still think he can be a huge fantasy factor if given the chance. Now with Alfred Morris suffering from a rib injury, this may be Helu’s opportunity to get more touches.
 
We don’t know the extent of Morris’ injury yet, but I’m actually surprised Helu hasn’t had a bigger role in Washington’s offense early in the year. I like Morris but Helu brings more versatility as a pass catcher. Remember, two years ago Helu caught 49 passes, so he’s an excellent receiver.
 
The big problem with Helu is health. While I do believe he can run between the tackles, the more carries he gets, the more he seems to get hurt. That’s why he may be better served as a change-of-pace back in the NFL. He just has never been able to stay healthy; even going back to his college days at Nebraska.
 
If Morris were to miss time, Helu would put up some big fantasy numbers in PPR formats. He may not rush for 100 yards a game but when you factor in receiving numbers, Helu will be good for over 100 total yards and five or six catches a game.

Helu is also a very highly rated free agent of
Advanced Sports Logic’s The Machine software system that I use and usually when we agree on a player, it results in good things. Helu is worth picking up this week.
 
Andre Ellington , RB Arizona – The clock is ticking on Rashard Mendenhall after another non-existent day of running the ball. Not only that but Mendenhall drew the ire of head coach Bruce Arians for running out of bounds late in the game when Arizona was trying to kill the clock. Guys who run for less than 1.0 yard per carry can’t really afford to commit mental mistakes too.

I have no idea if Ellington is the answer in Arizona. What I do know if Mendenhall continues to struggle, the Cardinals are likely to give Ellington and
Stepfan Taylor a look. Right now it looks like Ellington will be first in line to get most of the touches.

I wrote about Ellington a couple of weeks ago. I really liked him in college and think he can be an effective player in space at the NFL level. Arians is a good coach but to be honest, he hasn’t done a great job of working Ellington into the offense. He’s wasting too much time on Mendenhall, who has provided nothing for Arizona’s offense. At some point, the Cardinals will need a back to get them more than 3.0 yards a carry.
 
Again, I don’t know if Ellington is that guy. However, after four games I do know Mendenhall isn’t that guy. Yes, Arizona’s offensive line stinks but if that’s the case then giving the ball to a back that can’t make anyone miss or get past the first defender is a waste of time.

Alshon Jeffery , WR Chicago – Jeffery was my top breakout player this season but I warned to be a little patient with him. I thought it could take roughly a month for him to start paying dividends. So far through four games Jeffery has seen a solid 32 targets and he’s coming off his best performance of the year on Sunday. I still believe his best fantasy days are ahead of him, so I would advise getting Jeffery soon.

Jeffery is never going to be the top option in the Bears’ passing game. However, I thought by the end of the year Chicago would have one of the top receiving duos in the NFL with
Brandon Marshall and Jeffery. I still see no reason why that can’t be the case.

I was talking to a Bears’ fan last week and I told him Chicago’s offense is at its best when
Jay Cutler is spreading the ball around. The Bears have a lot of weapons with Marshall, Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett . Cutler gets into trouble when he hones in on Marshall too much like the terrible interception he threw on Sunday. This Bears offense can be deadly if Cutler learns to utilize all of his weapons.
 
I would try to get Jeffery in the next couple of weeks. It was my contention all along that by October he would start heating up and be a strong fantasy receiver virtually every week.



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