At some point in the next several weeks we will play a disturbing game in our house that has become an annual tradition. When our fridge is so full it will barely close we will hesitantly pull Thanksgiving leftovers out item-by-item and discard them after challenging one another in 10-or-more rounds of “What did I used to be?” Nothing is better than Thanksgiving leftovers. Nothing is worse than wasted, science experiment inspiring leftovers. Here are the fantasy football leftovers that you would be well advised to discard now, before they give you an upset stomach with a costly, nauseating performance.
The last thing that I want anyone who reads this article to do is miss an opportunity to add a possible contributor to your roster as we head into the fantasy football playoffs. Each of these players has value, but I am here to warn you that you should not expect them to continue their success or to earn an expanded role.
I know that T.Y. Hilton has been a touchdown machine for the Indianapolis Colts of late, and under the right circumstances he could be in a position to help your team. In the last four weeks, Hilton has four touchdowns along with two 100-yard games. One of the trips to the end zone came on a punt return and Hilton’s versatility certainly adds to his value. The issue is that in the other two games in that stretch, Hilton logged three catches for 33 yards. In one of the games he was held without a reception. In fact, Hilton only has five or more catches in three outings this season.
The Colts have a favorable late-season stretch and the rookie is building a strong rapport with Andrew Luck, but the key to his success is as simple as opportunity. Much of Hilton’s success has come when fellow receiver Donnie Avery has been hobbled or sidelined with injuries. If you have a spot on your roster to stash Hilton and are brave enough to play the matchups and circumstances, go for it; but I can’t gamble when so much is at stake come playoff time.
If you have read my articles over the last couple of years you already know how much I love Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells. I love Wells, like I love grandma’s stale fruit cake! I’ll pass. Chances are you aren’t going to find many starting running backs sitting on the waiver wire this late in the season, so Wells will likely demand a roster spot in every league. But other backs like Marcel Reece are more likely to be contributors. LaRod Stephens-Howling was banged up in Week 12 making for an extremely rare occasion where Wells was the only healthy back on the roster. Stephens-Howling is best suited as a backup, and Wells will retain his spot as the Arizona starter. But with a string of tough matchups to close the season, he offers nothing more than a desperation play for your team.
Full disclosure: I’m a Carolina Panthers fan. I know John Fox. Fox chose to sign and start Brian St. Pierre over Jimmy Clausen at quarterback two seasons ago. Not that Clausen is starter material, but St. Pierre? Did the Panthers lose my phone number? Fox is up to his old tricks, inserting Knowshon Moreno as the starter over Ronnie Hillman when Willis McGahee was sidelined. Hillman’s biggest flaw? He is a rookie. Hillman owners hate Fox. Is Moreno a more talented back than Hillman? Not at all, but lucky for Moreno he is not a rookie.
Fox’s approach works great when the best option is a veteran, but he is loyal to a fault. Hillman has the talent and skill set to succeed in the Denver offense, but he will find himself harnessed by a coaching philosophy that will greatly limit his opportunities. Hillman could get his chance should Moreno falter or get injured again, but be warned Fox has Curtis Enis on speed dial.
Chris Givens will get a lot of attention in many leagues this week as a hot waiver wire add, but he is a boom-or-bust player who will frustrate you as quickly as he excites you week-to-week. Givens hauled in five catches and turned them into a 115-yard outing to go with a touchdown. The 115 yards marked the first time that Givens has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. In fact, Givens had not racked up more than 80 yards since Week 6 prior to his Week 12 breakout.
The five catches were his season high as he has consistently managed to snag three balls or fewer in most weeks. In the fantasy football postseason, owners long for consistency, and Givens cannot be trusted for that. He is as capable of a four catch, 19-yard day (like he logged in Week 11 against the New York Jets), as he is at logging multiple touchdowns. Very few owners hoisting their league trophy will do it with Givens in their lineup.