Thursday - Apr 25, 2019

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Fantasy Five Alive

Trouble

The Tennessee Titans are in trouble. Do you really think that band-aid Rusty Smith can hold it together until Kerry Collins returns? I am not a believer. Smith looked downright awful as he stepped in and proceeded to lose the game for his team.

The Washington Redskins were stacking the line of scrimmage and every other team the Titans play will follow suit. The fantasy value of Chris Johnson just took a hit. However, the upside is that Johnson will get additional carries. Teams that choose to bring the heat will soon learn that  Johnson can break tackles. As a Johnson owner, I am hoping that Collins only misses two weeks. This week they travel to Houston to take on the Texans. I have zero confidence in anyone but Johnson.

For Houston, I like tight end Joel Dreesen and kicker Neil Rackers. I know I should insert Andre Johnson here because it really doesn’t matter who he plays along with quarterback Matt Schaub. Tennessee’s pass defense is pretty good, though, so I would temper my expectations to realistic ones. Arian Foster will get his as well.

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

The Redskins have so many injuries that they finally activated running back James Davis. Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis are on the shelf. Keiland Williams will continue to lead the team in carries until we get a look at Davis. I expect that this will be his last opportunity to stick with an NFL team. Opportunity knocks for Davis, who looked fantastic in the preseason as a one-cut runner. Remember that coach Mike Shanahan is a big fan of this style of running.  I expect that you will be surprised when you see Davis run. He has true break away speed.

Although Williams has run with authority, it has been a while since the coach had someone who could take it the distance on any given play. This week the Redskins host Minnesota.

I suspect it will be a Vikings’ party after being embarrassed last week. Gone is coach Brad Childress, and I have to wonder if his role in dismissing Randy Moss caused his release? Brett Farve will have a solid game this week as will Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson.

Worry

The New York Giants have exhausted their supply of wide receivers. The injuries to both Steve Smith, and now Hakeem Nicks, have led them to turn to Derek Hagan and Duke Calhoun. I don’t think this translates into anything but more targets for Mario Manningham, Kevin Boss and Travis Beckum. I would seriously hope that Smith can return within two weeks or we may see the Giants on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. The Philadelphia Eagles are looking like they will take the division at this point, leaving the Giants seeking a potential Wild Card berth. This week they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, which makes the aforementioned players’ fantasy values go way up. I think Manningham gets the biggest boost with the injuries, but don’t count out Boss. For the Jaguars, Mike Thomas is a must-start. Maurice Jones-Drew will have trouble running the ball versus the Giants’ defense. David Garrard is a jekyll-and-hyde fantasy player. I can’t ignore his upside, but I also can’t start him with confidence.

A good friend of mine said “Starting any Jaguars’ receiver is like rolling the dice with five of six sides being turd.” I would tend to agree, but Garrard has thrown for eight scores to only three interceptions in the last three games. Is this the game where he establishes consistency? Or will the dice come back turd?

Happy Thanksgiving! Two Games to be Thankful for:

I don’t know much, but something I have learned in my 40 years on the planet is that the Detroit Lions get up for Thanksgiving Day games every year. They will give New England all that they can handle Thursday at Ford Field this week. If you are looking for help at running back, look no further than Maurice Morris. Kevin Smith is on the shelf and Jahvid Best is really banged up. Morris will play this week and I expect that he will carry the ball. The Patriots have given up an average of 11 points per week to opposing running backs. (based on one point per 20 yards rushing). The Lions passing game could flourish as New England will have trouble stopping Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. This bodes well for the running game.

The Lions record from 1934 to 2007 on Thanksgiving is 33-33-2. However, they are 2-8 since 2000. New England will run the ball against one of the league’s worst rushing defenses. Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis should both have decent stats, but remember about the power of Thanksgiving Day. It’s a day that holds some magic for the Lions’ defense. I think this game will surprise you for three quarters.

The Dallas Cowboys are 6-4 since 2000 on Turkey Day. The New Orleans Saints travel to Texas for what could be the best game this week. Both have solid aerial attacks, but the New Orleans’ defense has been stingy to receivers. However, the numbers occassionally lie to us. The Saints haven’t seen the level of talent that Dallas has at receiver. I suspect that it should be a higher scoring affair. Expect to see a heavy dose of Felix Jones and Marion Barber III this week. Reggie Bush should make his return this week as well. He is an exciting player to watch. I suspect that he will be close to 100 percent. Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem will all benefit from the awful Dallas pass defense. Christopher Ivory will also get some touches, but Bush has the better upside because he remains a good receiving threat as well.

Thanks for the read folks! May you indulge in a few seasonal brews while arm chair quarterbacking your way to victory. It’s a day to relax and enjoy the NFL games while being thankful that you can shop online this year.

Questions/comments/concerns to michaelfsarmento@gmail.com

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