FUNNY THINGS HAPPEN DURING THE PLAY-OFFS…
There will always be one guy (or gal) that will drop a player to pick up the “flavor of the week”.
There will always be at least one franchise (usually a couple) that will rest some of their starters. Yes, Indianapolis – I’m talking to you in particular. They are however not alone in this practice.
There will also always be a couple of players you’d normally
never (ever!) dream of having on your roster, yet have “fair-weather” fixtures down the final couple of weeks.
And this happens every single season and is possibly one of the few things that can be predicted with any accuracy in public leagues across the world
#1 Look for your stud’s handcuff – if you have room? Make the add. Do you own Matt Schaub? Who is your backup?
#2 Beware rested players. Donald Brown could see you into a championship. Stranger things can and do happen.
#3 Check the strength of schedule over the next couple of weeks (there are some excellent articles here that can help you determine that). Alex Smith against DET @Candlestick park in wk 16, anyone?
With that said? I’ll wish you all the best in your respective leagues and push on to this week’s fare:
Davone Bess (MIA, WR) 7%
Davone Bess is currently averaging 12.4 yards per reception in his last four games & hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 117 yards and scored a touchdown in Sunday’s 22-21 upset win over New England. He’s a couple of weeks later than when i last mentioned him here – but better late than never for Mr. Bess to come join the party!
Bess played in what could be called the collegiate version of the ’08 ARI Offense. It was a pass happy thing of beauty to watch, but sadly – like Louis Murphy below – led people to believe that he was “a product of the system”, rather than a legitimate NFL WR. He is a legitimate WR and he and Henne are still building the kind of rapport that has fantasy owners salivating – but make no mistake, it is there and is beginning to both blossom and bear fruit.
The Jags and the ‘Fins both have pretty poor pass defenses (#23 & #24 against the pass) and both teams are 2nd in their respective divisions (The AFC South behind IND and the AFC East behind NE, respectively) and at 7-5 and 6-6 both teams will be going all out for the win in an attempt to secure post-season progression. With these two factors in mind, I’m fully expecting this to be a bit of shoot-out.
In fact, were it not for the fact that i’ve already mentioned another QB this week (plus Chad Henne is slightly more highly owned now than he used to be) & that the other WR I’d mention (Mike Thomas, JAC) I’ve spoken of previously they would also get space here. In fact, i’d even go so far as to say that this “must-win” game for both teams will either put a team through, or a team out of their fantasy championship aspirations.
Louis Murphy (OAK, WR) 3%
Murphy had the misfortune to play under Urban Meyer’s spread offense. I say misfortune as despite it’s incredible success at collegiate level, NFL franchises find it difficult to “re-mold” players into a (and I hesitate to use the word professional as Coach Meyer is certainly that) completely different scheme. Utah & then Florida under Meyer have both had a very unique playbook and is probably the reason that Tim Tebow has managed to marry prodigious physical attributes to a successful yet unique offensive scheme which may well cause him to slide out of the 1st round despite all his record breaking feats for Florida.
The other thing going against Murphy is that Florida have had a very sporadic track record of producing NFL caliber WRs – with some notable busts…
Over the past 6 or 7 weeks though Murphy has managed to show patches of dazzling ability. Whilst probably a little bit slighter than you’d probably like for his height, he compensates with speed and a quite ridiculous reach/ arm span. Initially he had a very nasty habit of letting the ball come to him allowing opposing backs the opportunity to negate his reach. He also didn’t get up as well as you’d like for what coaches call “optimum height”. In recent games he has shown that he is learning to compensate and adjust for these mechanics and his performances have shined.
It’s also not hurting him any that “new” starting QB Bruce Gradowski has already formulated good chemistry with him, nor that it was in fact 2nd year WR, home-town boy from small-time college program Chaz Schilens that was stealing the headlines during camp with some eye-catching performances. Indeed, Darius Heyward-Bey also managed to oblige by doing the complete opposite! Both managing to take the spotlight off of him during pre-season.
Given recent upsets & near upsets? The form book for this week’s match-up (OAK vs WAS) tends to go out the window. After mentioning him earlier in the season it was good to see Devin Thomas give Jason Campbell a decent option out there (esp, with Chris Cooley gone and Santana Moss & Antwaan Randle-El as sporadic as ever) and more importantly not drop balls or have them bounce off his head/shoulder/arm/back* (delete as applicable) as he has done earlier in the season.
OAK are actually SURRENDERING the 5th most fantasy points to WRs. Which is quite frankly staggering given their history, tradition and a certain Nnmandi Asomugha – so it’s no reach to expect OAK to be airing it out in the 4th quarter. Both OAK and WAS will be the teams other franchises won’t be looking forward to in the coming weeks as they have the words “Spoiler” written all over them, with nothing to play for now except pride and roster spot next season.
Brady Quinn (CLE, QB) 6%
Hands up you knew that over the last 2 weeks, Brady Quinn was the 3rd highest scoring QB in fantasy-land? You did? Awesome…
The PIT “Iron Curtain” is looking more like a “Tin Sieve” at this moment in time. The Bills & the Panthers have both conceded less passing TDs than the Steelers (10 & 12 respectively to the Steelers 15) and more worryingly they’ve allowed more yardage through the air than even the repugnant Rams DEF.
For all that however, they are still holding opposing RBs to 3.6 YPC and have yet to allow 1,000 total rushing yds on the season against them. Although… with teams throwing it against them with as much success as they have been lately – then why bother running on them?!
If you’re a Matt Schaub, a Peyton Manning or even one of the inane managers holding onto Trent Edwards (16%) or Josh Freeman (8%), then do yourselves a favor? Remember what i said earlier about crazy things happening in the play-offs:
“There will also always be a couple of players you’d normally never (ever!) dream of having on your roster, yet have “fair-weather” fixtures down the final couple of weeks.”
Just as a side-note. Quinn is a lifelong Browns fan and has a passionate dislike of the Steelers. He won’t need any extra motivation to have a big day and pile on the pressure on the ailing, reigning SB champs.
Jasper Brinkley (MIN, MLB) I’m sure my colleague will fill you in further on this development, but in IDP leagues MLBs are money. This guy is getting the starting gig vacated by E.J.Henderson who is out for the season.
Brett Favre (MIN, QB), Adrian Peterson (MIN, QB) & Robert Meachem (NO, WR) – Any ONE of those players could have cost you your championship run. Thanks a lot guys! As a side note? Good Job, Meachem – in terms of “real-life” football, that was (for me, anyway) the play of the day.
Bruce Gradowski (OAK, QB) Not since the days of Ken Stabler has an Oakland QB led a 4th quarter turnaround like he did last weekend. If only Al Davis hadn’t forced his coaches to start JaMarcus Russell for the past 2 seasons. Incidentally, “Big, Bad Bruce” has a wk16 fixture against the Browns #26 ranked pass defense…
Deon Butler (SEA, WR) The guy has good hands and sizzling speed and still the Seahwaks are trying to use Deion Branch…. A player now 30yrs of age – no problems with that! He’s managed a full season of games only ONCE in ten seasons. He hasn’t scored more than 4 TDs in a season except ONCE in ten seasons & since 2005 his yardage reads: ‘
998, ’06 –
725, ’07 –
661, ’08 –
412 & ’09 so far?
246… Just when exactly do they think it’s time to blood the exciting former Penn State prospect?