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Week Thirteen: Last Minute Tune-Up

The season is just about complete and there are a few teams trying to grab some of the last available playoff spots in your league. Hopefully you already have a spot locked up but if you haven’t yet, you should be considering some last minute adjustments that may help you get in and through the post season.

Leave no stone unturned: The waiver wire is pretty much left with scraps and a long list of the wounded. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value out their in free agency. Look at the positions you usually don’t make changes at such as TE, PK and Def. Look for the teams with the easiest schedule during that stretch. The difference between the 10th kicker and the 11th kicker may be minimal at best but every point is critical at this point. Monitor similar players you can swap out or insert into your line-up. Stop leaving points on the bench.

Out of contention, good opportunities for you: There are teams in your league that are out of the playoff race and are now just setting their line-up to cruise control. Try to swing a deal now to grab players that can help you during the playoffs. It may not be feasible to try and make a trade with owners of Marion Barber or Adrian Peterson but player such as a Steve Slaton or a Dwayne Bowe who put up decent stats could upgrade your flex or WR3 position. It isn’t always about grabbing the studs as it is getting a good core group of starters to get you that win.

Take the easy match-ups: The Lions, Rams and Bengals are always going to give you great match-ups. Grab players playing these teams or start players you have against them. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Monitor the weather: Hypothetical situation, you are looking at your line-up and have players from San Francisco playing at Buffalo or players from Chicago playing at Minnesota. The weather in Buffalo calls for snow and freezing temperatures while Minnesota will be domed. Playing your San Francisco or even your buffalo players wouldn’t be wise as your QBs, PK and WRs will all struggle because teams tend to keep it on the ground and slow the game down.

Just to give you an example from last year. The Browns were a pretty good offensive team playing at home on Dec 16th 2007. The weather was awful which led to a browns 8-0 win. The game produced 536 combined net yards. There were two FGs of offense in the whole game. That killed plenty of owners starting the playoffs in week 15 last year.

It seems like simple steps but there are plenty of owners who kick themselves because they got lazy or have their team on auto-pilot expecting to dominate the playoffs and win a championship.

Player Spotlight: Rashard Mendenhall RB PIT

Heading into this season many believed that Mendenhall would be a great player to draft since the Steelers are a good running team and that Willie Parker was returning from injuries and struggled down at the goal line. During the preseason Mendanhall had problems with fumbling and with Willie Parker getting out the gates hot to start the season his touches were limited. Parker was sidelined in week 4 with a knee injury and Mendenhall received an opportunity to start against the Ravens. He injured his shoulder in that game and was later placed in injured reserved. He should recover in 10 months and be ready for training camp.

Owners did not get an opportunity to see his full potential as he ended with just 19 carries and 58 RuYDs on the season. What does that mean for him in 2009? The status of Parkers health will be a factor as he has struggled to stay on the field this year. Parker is due $3.35 Million next year and will be a free agent in 2010. I don’t expect him to be cut but those who play in keeper or dynasty leagues have an unclear picture at the moment.

Here are the Top Ten fantasy players over the past 3 weeks.

Top 10 QBs

Based on Shark League scoring


1. Matt Cassel NEP                   1st last week

2. Drew Brees NOS                   New

3. Tyler Thigpen KCC                3rd last week

4. Kurt Warner ARI                   2nd last week

5. Peyton Manning IND            5th last week

6. Jay Cutler DEN                     4th last week

7. Shaun Hill SFO                     New

8. Trent Edwards BUF              New

9. Kerry Collins TEN                 8th last week

10. Chad Pennington MIA        New

Removed from list: Aaron Rodgers GBP, Joe Flacco BAL, Matt Ryan ATL, Donovan McNabb PHI

Top Ten RBs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Thomas Jones NYJ              1st last week

2. Michael Turner ATL              6th last week

3. Matt Forte CHI                    5th last week

4. Maurice Jones-Drew JAC     3rd last week

5. DeAngelo Williams CAR       New

6. Marshawn Lynch BUF         10th last week

7. Adrian Peterson MIN          3rd last week

8. Pierre Thomas NOS            New

9. Joseph Addai IND               New

10. Ladainian Tomlinson SDC New


Removed from list: Ronnie Brown MIA, Kevin Smith DET, Brandon Jacobs NYG, Ryan Grant GBP

Top Ten WRs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Anquan Boldin ARI               1st last week

2. Lance Moore NOS                New

3. Randy Moss NEP                  New

4. Wes Welker NEP                  9th last week

5. Larry Fitzgerald ARI             2nd last week

6. Dwayne Bowe KCC              8th last week

7. Kevin Walter HOU                New

8. Justin Gage TEN                   New

9. Ted Ginn Jr. MIA                   New

10. Greg Jennings GBP            New


Removed from list: Eddie Royal DEN, Calvin Johnson DET, Derrick Mason BAL, Reggie Wayne IND, Hines Ward PIT, Mark Bradley KCC

Top Ten TEs

Based on Shark League scoring




1. Tony Gonzalez KCC                1st last week

2. Dustin Keller NYJ                    3rd last wee

3. Kellen Winslow CLE               2nd last week

4. Bo Scaife TEN                        4th last week

5. Kevin Boss NYG                     New

6. Todd Heap BAL                      New

7. Dallas Clark IND                    6th last week

8. Antonio Gates SDC                New

9. John Carlson SEA                  New

10. Ben Watson NEP                 8th last week

Removed from list: Kevin Boss NYG, Owen Daniels HOU, Chris Cooley WAS, Todd Heap BAL

Top Ten Ks

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Phil Dawson CLE                 1st last week

2. Jay Feely NYJ                       2nd last week

3. Neil Rackers ARI                  3rd last week

4. Adam Vinatieri IND              7th last week

5. Stephen Gostkowski NEP   5th last week

6. Mason Crosby GBP             4th last week

7. Rian Lindell BUF                  New

8. Ryan Longwell MIN             New

9. Garrett Hartley NOS           New

10. Jeff Reed PIT                    10th last week


Removed from list: David Akers PHI, Dan Carpenter MIA, Jason Elam ATL, Jeff Reed PIT

Top Ten DEFs

Based on Shark League scoring



1. Ravens BAL                       10th last week

2. Jets NYJ                             1st last week

3. Raiders OAK                      7th last week

4. Buccaneers TBB                 New

5. Vikings MIN                        New

6. Packers GBP                      4th last week

7. Panthers CAR                    New

8. Bills BUF                            New

9. Eagles PHI                        New

10. Jaguars JAC                    9th last week

Removed from list: Giants NYG, Cardinals ARI, Falcons ATL, Dolphins MIA, Steelers PIT

The Golden Mug Award

Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.

Michael Turner– 24 car 117 RuYDs and 4 RuTDs. The Panthers did not have an answer for Turner as he scored at will on Carolina and has scored more than half of his TDs this season over the past 3 weeks. He has tough match-ups during the fantasy playoffs with games against Tampa Bay and Minnesota but for those playing in the championship game he’s match-up up against the Rams.

Randy Moss– 8 rec 125 ReYDs and 3 ReTDs. If Matt Cassel can continue to use Moss as his go to receiver, then it would be a big boost for his owners who have suffered with inconsistent production from the WR. The problem is Cassel doesn’t have the arm to get the ball down field which limits the possibility of Moss having 100+ receiving games week in and week out. Though match-up this week against the Steelers but after that they play the Seahawks, Raiders and Cardinals.

Terrell Owens– 7 rec 213 ReYDs and 1 ReTD. His first game above 100 receiving yards and it showed how much Owens missed a healthy Tony Romo. Fool’s gold or more big games to come? It depends on how healthy Romo can be down the stretch. Good match-up this week against the Seahawks but then it gets brutal as he faces the Steelers, Giants, Ravens and Eagles.

The Urinal Cake Award

Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.

Brady Quinn– 8 for 18 94 PaYDs 0 PaTDs and 2 INTs. If you read my match-up review last week (of course you did), you would have know that Quinn was a bad play because of the injury to his finger despite the good match-up against the Texans. Quinn was benched for Derek Anderson. The Browns have shut Quinn down for the season and placed him on IR.

Donovan McNabb– 8 for 18 59 PaYDs 0 PaTDs 2 INTs and 1 FL. Erie how similar McNabb’s stats were to Brady Quinn’s. McNabb’s embarrassing overtime comments were followed up by a very poor performance and benching against the Ravens. The damage of his benching could be the end of the McNabb era in Philadelphia. Still to McNabb’s credit, the Eagles are 5th in the league in passing yards.

Willis McGahee– 7 car 8 RuYDs 0 RuTDs. McGahee has been a tease all year with some decent games and then a break out performance in week 10 that fooled some people into thinking McGahee would get back on track. The reality is that McGahee is just 32nd among RBs through the season.


For the second year we have three games played on Thanksgiving. With plans of traveling to see the family and stuffing your face until you explode, you need to make sure on Wednesday that all your line-ups are ready to go. This is a short week for a lot of players that have played on Sunday which doesn’t give injured players much room to heal up or teams a lot of time to prepare. Expect many teams to keep their game plan simple.

12:30 pm Tennessee at Detroit. I know that it’s tradition to have the Lions play on thanksgiving but if they are blown out every year they play, why would you want to continue to watch them outside of being a Lions fan? The Lions are 33-33-2 all time on turkey day and have lost four in a row. They are 2-6 since 2000 with their last win coming in 2003. Tough game for them this year as they face the AFC’s best team the Titans who are 10-1. Tennessee’s offense averages 188.4 (24th) PaYDs and 124.7 (9th) RuYds per game. Their defense is still one of the best in the league as they give up just 189.5 (7th) PaYDs and 103.9 (15th) RuYDs per game. They have allowed only 7 PaTDs (2nd) with 16 INTs and 12 RuTDs (21st). For the Lions, not many positives to look at. The Lions offense has generated 187.2 (25th) PaYds and 83.4 (29th) RuYDs. On defense Detroit allows 222 (19th) PaYDs and 166.7 (32nd) RuYDs. They have given up 18 PaTDs to just 2 INTs with 18 RuTDs (30th).

4:15 pm Seattle at Dallas. This is another team that has a long standing Thanksgiving tradition as the Cowboys are 25-14-1 all time on turkey day. They have won the last two years and are 4-4 since 2000. They face a Seahawk team that is struggling this year. They have lost seven of their last eight games while the Cowboys are trying to keep pace in the playoff race with Tony Romo back at QB. The Seahawks offense has 140.4 (31st) PaYDs and 111.1 (17th) RuYDs per game. Their defense gives up 259.2 (31st) PaYDs and 122.0 (22nd) RuYDs per game. The Seahawks have allowed 16 PaTDs (23rd) with 5 INTs and 10 RuTDs (16th). The Cowboys have back to back wins coming off a bye and their offense has 236.1 (9th) PaYDs and 112 (16th) RuYDs per game. The defense has allowed 294.5 (8th) PaYDs and 98.4 (10th) RuYDs per game. They have given up 15 PaTDs (16th) with 5 INTs and 8 RuTDs (11th).

8:15 pm Arizona at Philadelphia. The NFL network has added a third game to the thanksgiving line-up. This is probably the only game that will be close as booth Tennessee and Dallas should win easily. The Eagles are dealing with some turmoil with the benching of Donovan McNabb and falling behind in the playoff race. The Eagles offense is pretty good in passing as they have 255 (5th) PaYDs but their ground game hasn’t been as effective with 94.8 (26th) RuYDs per game. The Eagles defense has allowed 188 (5th) PaYDs and 99.7 (11th) RuYDs per game. They have allowed 15 PaTDs (16th) with 9 INTs and allowed just 6 RuTDs (4th). The Cardinals are coming off a tough win against the Giants at home and now travel to face another NFC East team where they are 1-2 against that division. The Cardinals offense is great in the passing with 309.6 (2nd) PaYDs and just 81.1 (30th) RuYDs per game. The Cardinals defense allows 212.2 (17th) PaYDs and 89.5 (8th) RuYDs per game. They have given up a ton of passing TDs however with 22 PaTDs (32nd) with 10 INTs and 8 RuTDs (11th).

The match-ups I like this week for QB’s:

Jay Cutler against the Jets. Cutler had thrown 6 TDs since the bye but was shut out of the end zone last week. Look for this game to be a high scoring shoot out between two gunslingers. Cutler has been the 6th best QB over the past three weeks and the 4th best QB this season averaging 18.6 FTPs per game. He faces a Jets team that allows 239.4 (26th) PaYDs per game with 15 PaTDs (16th).

Philip Rivers against the Falcons. Rivers has thrown for 2 or more TDs in five of the last six games. He is currently the 4th best QB over the past three weeks and the 6th best QB on the year averaging 18.6 FTPs per game. He faces a Falcons team that allows 230.7 (23rd) PaYDs per game with 14 PaTDs (12th).

Trent Edwards against the 49ers. Edwards redeemed himself last week after a poor start against Cleveland on Monday night. Edwards is currently the 8th best QB over the past three weeks and the 14th best QB this season averaging 14 FTPs per game. He’s going up against a 49ers team that allows 249.9 (29th) PaYDs per game with 18 PaTDs (26th) per game with 18 PaTDs (26th).

The match-ups I like this week for RB’s:

Warrick Dunn against the Saints. With Earnest Graham gone for the season and Carnell Williams not yet up to speed, Dunn makes a good play this week. Dunn is currently the 20th best RB over the past 3 weeks and the 25th best RB this season averaging 13.7 FTPs per game. He will get the bulk of the carries against the Saints who allow 110.8 (18th) RuYDs per game with 7 RuTDs (8th).

Thomas Jones against the Broncos. Jones remains underrated in most leagues and is the best RB over the past 3 weeks and the 6th best RB this year averaging 20.8 FTPs per game. Good match up against the Broncos who allow 114.5 (27th) RuYDs per game with 15 RuTDs (26th). This will be a high scoring game where the Broncos will be scoring through the air while the jets will be scoring on the ground.

Joseph Addai against the Browns. The Colts have won 4 games in a row to climb back in the thick of things for the playoffs. When Peyton Manning is clicking, the running game benefits from it. Addai has had two good games back to back and is the 9th best RB over the past 3 weeks and the 27th best RB on the season averaging 14.8 FTPs per game. Addai will run against the Browns defense that has allowed 145.9 (28th) RuYDs per game with 11 RuTDs (20th).

The match-ups I don’t like this week for QB’s:

Jake Delhomme against the Packers. Delhomme played ok last week after two really bad performances in week 10 and 11. The elbow may still be a concern and if there is an injury to it, he will be done for the season. Delhomme has not been putting up great numbers as he is the 22nd best QB over the past 3 weeks and the 20th best QB on the season averaging just 12.7 FTPs per game. He faces a tough Green Bay team that allows just 189.2 (6th) PaYDs per game with 15 PaTDs (16th).

Eli Manning against the Redskins. In the first game of the year Manning made 35 passing attempts which was is second highest amount of attempts in a game this season. The Giants beat the Redskins and are now on top of the NFC at 10-1. The second game will be a tougher match-up as the Redskins are playing for a Wild Card spot while the Giants are looking to lock up the division and help themselves secure a #1 seed. The Redskins allow just 182.7 (4th) PaYDs per game with 12 PaTDs (7th). To make things harder, the Giants might be without Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs.

Gus Frerotte against the Bears. Frerotte has been a streaky QB and most people picked him up to fill an injury at QB. Frerotte has not thrown for over 200 yards since week 7 the first game against the Bears where he also threw 4 INTs. Frerotte is the 28th best QB over the past 3 weeks and the 24th best QB over the season averaging 12.4 FTPs per game. The Bears defense has allowed a lot of yards through the air as they give up 244.2 (30th) PaYDs per game with 13 PaTDs (10th).

The match-up I don’t like this week for RB’s:

Ryan Grant against the Panther. Grant has been sub par this season after posting great stats last year. He is currently the 11th best RB over the past 3 weeks and the 19th best RB over the season averaging 13.5 FTPs per game. He faces a Panthers team that a week ago was leading the division and now find themselves holding on the a Wild Card spot. The Panthers defense allows 109.9 (17th) RuYDs per game with 10 RuTDs (16th).

Tim Hightower against the Eagles. Hightower has been keeping Edgerrin James on the sideline but the fact is the Cardinals are a throw first and often team which leave a small amount of carries available. Hightower is the 31st best RB over the past 3 weeks averaging just 11 carries and 26 RuYDs. He did have 2 RuTDs which saved his stats last week. He is the 26th best RB on the season averaging 12.3 FTPs per game. He faces an Eagles team that will be playing at home looking to forget what happened last week and has a defense that allows just 99.7 (11th) RuYDs per game with 6 RuTDs (4th).

Peyton Hillis against the Jets- Hillis is another waiver pick up that has paid off for some owners. He is the 18th best RB over the past 3 weeks and just the 53rd best RB on the season averaging 14.3 FTPs in 5 games. Like I said earlier, this game will be a high scoring attack with Jay Cutler throwing for the TDs. The Jets defense plays the run well as they allow 78.0 (3rd) RuYDs per game with 7 RuTDs (8th).

Week thirteen, have a

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good Luck to everyone in week thirteen.



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